Packaging Overload

There has been something niggling at me for a while now. Not a bad niggle, just something that needs my attention. I’m not sure if you have taken note of this but it drives me to distraction some days. Why does everything come with so much packaging? Even with minimal packaging there is still so much recycling and garbage that piles up.

Almost everything comes with some sort of excessive packaging, short of fruits and veggies that Mother Nature has nicely packaged herself without extra waste. At least this packaging, if not consumed, can go into the making of beautiful, rich compost and go back into the earth in a productive manner. Mind you, some fruit growers and/or their wholesalers feel the need to encase produce in evil plastic packages and shrink-wrap.

I try to shop to avoid excessive packaging but my recycle bins seem to overflow each week. I recycle absolutely everything I can and have set up a recycling station in my kitchen. Two large bins to collect paper and plastics/cans/bottles. I always have a separate heap of plastic bags to recycle too even though I only use reusable shopping bags. A couple of weeks ago I forgot my reusable bags so I purchased a few plastic bags (feeling guilty the entire time I was bagging and carrying my groceries, hoping no one saw me carrying plastic bags) thinking I could use them at some point as garbage bags. Ack! My Guilt-O-Meter instantly blew up! Every time I open my pantry and see the measly couple of reserve bags in my bag dispenser I have to look away quickly and distract myself to avoid the trip down Anguish Avenue.

Change of subject for my sanity.

I have been working diligently on reducing the amount of garbage each week. For the last couple of years, I have been able to put out the garbage pail for collection with two small grocery bags, on average. Some weeks I have no garbage at all to put out at the curb. When I see other people’s garbage piles I wonder what the heck they are throwing out to have such a mass amount of garbage each week. Not that I really want to know. It would probably irritate me to no end. I think that my two small grocery bags is excessive for my family as it is. So, I’m plugging away at reducing garbage and packaging and sorting my recycling responsibly. Once there is a system in place it is simple to allocate everything to its proper place.

My system includes:

1 bin for paper recycling

1 bin for glass, plastic, cans and cartons

1 heap (supposed to be tidy but seldom is) for plastic bags and wrap from packaging

1 city collected compost (for the municipal maggot pile) which includes things I wouldn’t put in my own compost bin but the city accepts

1 raw food scraps and yard waste compost bin

1 garbage pail

It actually makes things easier to sort as I go along. This way on recycling/garbage day it is mere minutes collecting the bins and dragging them to the curb. Much better than having to sort everything while collecting.  Do you have a tip for reducing garbage and recycling? I’d love to hear your ideas.

When it comes to garbage, there is no such thing as throwing it away. 

6 thoughts on “Packaging Overload

  1. Amen to THAT!! I’m sure I have ideas… things I do to reduce packaging & waste… just automatic, I think… I will pay more attention now and if anything comes to mind I can share… I’ll be right back at ya!! 😀

    • It does become automatic, you are so right about that. Even trying to keep the packaging to a minimum I still end up with tonnes of recycling!

      Please share your thoughts whenever you think of them!

  2. I save all shipping boxes and packing material for Amazon and ebay sales, but that takes up space. I try to buy as little stuff with gross packaging as possible, and try only to buy from online stores that use environmentally friendly packaging. But, thinks like HMi cables, and other electronics, come in this heavy duty plastic sealed things, that are a nightmare to open and dispose of. I reuse all store plastic bags, but they just passed the ban in L.A., so we will be required to bring our own.

    • I agree with you about electronic accessory packaging. It’s quite ridiculous. Great idea to purchase online from those that offer environmentally-friendly packaging materials. The bag ban is a great step forward but the one drawback is having to purchase garbage bags. If plastic grocery/shopping bags are banned are plastic garbage bags still available or are they made differently to partially biodegrade? Just curious.

      Thanks for the input.

  3. Say it Sister! My husband thinks I’m a lunatic the way I sort through the recycling ahead of time. In my kitchen I have an enormous shelving unit. The bottom is for my recycling boxes – one for plastic film and bags, one for most regular recyclables, and one for paper and cardboard. I try to empty them every day to deter ants and odours. And I compost like crazy. Since we don’t have a compost pickup, it all goes into our pile in the backyard. I’ve got the family down to about 1 garbage bag every 2 – 3 weeks now.

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