Consumers urged to slash trash
If consumers buy products with less packaging, trash production would be reduced significantly
April 9, 1999
Web posted at: 10:30 AM EDT
Consumers can make a big impact on trash production by changing their shopping habits just a little, according to a packaging study commissioned by the National Consumers League.
Buying products that come in the least amount of packaging is one of the most clear-cut and simple ways consumers can help tackle the waste problem, according to the study which is published in the Earth Day issue of the ULS (Use Less Stuff) Report.
The Michigan State University School of Packaging, who conducted the study, examined 40 different product categories and the different types of packaging used in each to determine which produces the least amount of trash.
The study concludes:
"Most of the time people don't even have to change brands," says ULS Report editor Robert Lilienfeld. "Simply shop for products that come in the least amount of packaging."
- The typical American family can reduce its wasteline by a whopping 285 pounds a year by simply changing how they buy just 10 everyday items, including cereal, soft drinks and tuna. Consumers buying soft drinks for example will reduce waste by buying drinks in large plastic bottles rather than aluminum cans in a cardboard carton.
- If everyone in the United States switched buying habits on the same 10 simple items, total trash generation would fall by more than seven percent, or about 14 million tons.
- Buying reduced-packaging products gives you more for your money. For example, the average family could save $150 a year by simply purchasing cereal in larger bags instead of smaller boxes.
The study is also good news for municipalities hard-pressed to either add more landfill capacity or increase recycling programs. Based on the 10 items analyzed by The ULS Report, if Minneapolis consumers, for example, switched to the reduced-waste packaging, the city would cut its trash by approximately 156,000 tons annually. With the cost of disposal running more than $100 a ton, that's a savings of $15.6 million a year, according to the ULS Report.
With Earth Day '99 coming up April 22, the ULS Report encourages consumers to shop smart and make a difference.
Copyright 1999, Environmental News Network, All Rights Reserved
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