Monday, January 2, 2012
During this holiday season I took on the usual role of family garbage person. Perhaps you too have been that designated party at one time or another - standing there, holding a bag...waiting...until the very second a present is opened...then knocking your nieces and nephews over to catch the torn paper from their recently opened presents before it can even hit the floor. Well, as usual I am always shocked at the amount of paper used to hide gifts from one another until the big day of exchange. Below are a few of many great stats from Mother Jones on the subject [and as for clam-shell packaging sending people to the ER? Been there, done that - sliced my finger open and needed 8 stitches a few years ago. So changing course on packaging is not only about protecting the environment, but also about health and safety - at least for me ;-)]:
- Nearly 10% of a typical product's price is for packaging.
- The global packaging market is worth $429 billion.
- Nearly 1/3 of Americans' waste is packaging. Just 43% is recycled after use.
- In 2007, Americans threw away 78.5 million tons of packaging—520 pounds per person. That's a 71% increase from 1960.
- A 2008 bill written by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) would have required the EPA to find ways to reduce packaging waste by 30% in a decade. It died with no cosponsors.
- Last summer, Sam's Club began selling milk in a stackable plastic jug with a smaller energy footprint. It cut the price of a gallon by as much as 20 cents, but consumers complained that it spilled too easily.
- Between Thanksgiving and New Year's, Americans produce more than 1 million tons of additional garbage per week.
- If every family reused the wrapping from 3 gifts, it would save enough paper to cover 50,000 football fields.
- To fight shoplifting, which costs retailers more than $11 billion a year, clamshell packages are designed so that "human hands have great difficulty separating the backing and cover," according to a 2003 patent.
- Even armed with scissors and a box cutter, it took Consumer Reports testers more than 3 minutes to cut open the Oral-B Sonic Complete Toothbrush Kit.
- Last year, clamshell-type packages sent more than 5,700 Americans to the ER.
- In May 2008, Sony announced "Death to the Clamshell" with a video of a man getting impaled by a package of headphones.
- Sony's Memory Stick Pro Duo comes in a package that's 50 times larger than the product itself.
- Pentagon researchers say that by converting packaging waste into fuel, military units could become energy self-sufficient.
- More than 80% of kids surveyed said they preferred plastic milk bottles to paper cartons. They saw milk in plastic as "cool" and "fun to drink." Paper was "old-fashioned."
- Americans annually buy enough plastic wrap to cover Texas.
- The USDA has developed edible food wrap. Says a researcher, "Imagine apple-film-wrapped pork chops that go from the refrigerator to the stove, where the film melts into an apple glaze."
- Presliced and wrapped fruits and vegetables cost up to 45% more than whole, unwrapped ones.
- Sales of Patagonia underwear jumped 30% after it removed the packaging.
- Blake Hudson