It’s hard to visit a landfill site without being struck by the craziness of taking very valuable minerals and resources out of the ground, using a lot of energy, turning them into short life products and then just dumping them back into the ground. It’s an absolutely monumental waste of energy and resources. As someone from the fashion industry might say, its just so last century. (Michael Pawlyn, The Guardian, November 21 2005)
Whilst some packaging is necessary in our modern industrialised food chain, unnecessary packaging is a waste:
Cost: It increases the price of the goods you buy. You are charged twice – first when you buy overpackaged products and then through your council tax for disposing of your rubbish & recycling.
Waste: It wastes resources at every level: production, storage, transport and disposal.
Pollution: Landfill and incineration are the two main ways of dealing with un-recyclable packaging waste. These are major pollutants for people, and the environment, as they leach toxins and release greenhouse gases. The unpalatable truth is that we’re running out of landfill space – we will reach a time that the landfill holes in the ground are full with little mainstream impetus to find alternatives.
What about recycling? While some packaging is recycled, most ends up in landfill sites and some is too complex to recycle as the facilities don’t exist, or aren’t cost effective. Recycling is part of the solution, but only if we use it as a stepping stone to a zero waste circular economy where we use less packaging and develop systems based on re-use & refilling.
Follow the principles of the Waste Hierarchy and
Reduce by only buying what you need
Reuse by bringing your containers for a refill
Recycle what you can’t reuse
And… if you can’t reuse or recycle it then don’t buy it!