Going Greener and Reusable Product Containers

January 6, 2012

landscapeAll of us need to take an active and creative approach to environment conservation. Most of you are already recycling, but is there more we can do?

Our lives are routine. Even with our disposal of the waste we produce. We collect our garbage and sort our recycling and off to the curb it goes. For most of us this is all we need to do. Somehow as if magic the waste we have collected over the course of the week, suddenly is gone. Out of sight and out of mind, however, what happens after your bins are emptied?
Here is a short video which will show you where your recyclables are taken and what happens to them when they get there. This is a video of a recycling plant in the UK, however, the process is the same world wide. Also keep in mind that this is just a few days worth of collected material.

When I watched this video I was quite proud of my recycling efforts. It seemed obvious that this was making a difference to the environment. Then I looked further.

listerine-closedI learned In New York, each week, approximately 64,000 tons of household and institutional waste are collected and taken, well, taken somewhere, but where? I had never thought to ask. After more research I became aware of the immense distances trash travels and the amount of cost and energy used to transport, transfer, recycle, incinerate or dump it.  It poses obvious questions about how we expend environmental resources in support of our country’s, and the world’s, vast consumption practices.
For example, one bag of your garbage collected in New York can travel as far a 3000 miles before it reaches it’s destination. What this means is that thousands of large trucks each day may travel great distances, consuming vast amounts of fuel, which contributes to carbon waste in the air we breathe. Not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars it costs tax payers each year to make this all happen.

The ultimate destination for our waste is landfills sites. The USA alone has 3.091 active landfill sites and over 10,000 old municipal landfills. Here is a picture of a typical landfill location. The site is in Pennsylvania; it was a former flood plain and is adjacent to the Delaware River.

We all try to contribute to a healthier and more sustainable environment , but are we doing enough?

listering-openWhen I began producing the Easy Eye Solutions products I had in mind that what ever packaging I used needed to be made with recycled material and could be reusable. My aim was to use packaging that would not end up in a landfill or a recycling plant, packaging that was unique and could be reused for years.  It needed to be small enough to not take up much room and to be used successfully with practically any content, from liquids to thick creams.  It had to be airless, to ensure that the product it contained would be free from contaminates and that the contents would last a very long time. Unfortunately, the packaging for our Under Cover Highlighter is the only container not reuseable, but is made with recycled material. The bottles for the eye tuck serum and cream met our criteria perfectly.

How much packaging do we throw away each week? Every thing from chewing gum wrappers to the containers for food we eat. After all, isn’t this what you put in the recycle bin? Which by the end of the week is crammed with material. Here is an example of what I am talking about. Below are pictures of a breath freshener I purchased. Notice the packaging. Also notice the amount of waste after the product is taken out of the package. After the breath freshener is used up that container also ends up in the trash. Is the dispenser reusable? Not a chance. I will not purchase this product again. Not because it is not a great breath freshener, but the amount of waste left behind is excessive and only adds to the ever increasing burden faced by waste removal agencies and taxpayers everywhere.

Accumulation of small actions can create a big change. As consumers and citizens of the world we have a responsibility to make wise and creative decisions.  Which, over time, will make a lasting difference and send a message to corporations that they need to make a greater effort to be part of the solution and produce goods which are manufactured and packaged with environmental  conservation a priority.

Today, I avoid purchasing goods with unnecessary layers of packaging. I keep my shopping choices as simple as possible. I use my own shopping bags and am mindful of how much is thrown in the trash and how much needs  to be recycled. I have been able to cut my contribution to landfills and recycle bins by half. Certainly this has been an adjustment but a conscious effort which I believe will make a difference on some level down the road. Every bit counts and will make less of an impact if we continue to be consistent and mindful. It is my responsibility to make the best effort possible to ensure a better future for our children, who will have better things to do than clean up our mess resulting from years of neglect and indulgence.