Packaging Waste Tips


Have you ever given packaging waste tips a thought?

The answer is probably ’yes’ as you struggle to make your way into a packet of biscuits or a new toothbrush.

Have you ever wondered how much the packaging waste in the products you buy is really costing you and the planet?


The packaging industry has literally exploded.

There are now plastic shrink wraps, bubble wraps, wires, staples, clamshells, styrofoam shells, plastic popcorn, plastic clips, outer boxes, inner boxes, tape and numerous other materials companies use to protect their products.

The question is have they now gone too far? In many cases - probably 'Yes'. Read our packaging waste tips below for more guidance.

The amount of materials that we throw away is totally unjustified. Little wonder that re-cycling bins are stuffed to overflowing after the Christmas period.

Apart from the fact that when you buy a product, you’re actually paying more for it because of the over abundance of outside wrapping. In addition, many people hurt themselves every year when removing this unnecessary packaging waste. Read our packaging waste tips below for more guidance.

When the packaging has been stripped away from a Christmas Toy, the hype and publicity are also stripped out. What is left behind is frequently very disappointing. This packaging is costing you money – lots of it!

Have you ever wondered why such a small DVD installation/instruction disc for the latest computer anti-virus system needs such a large box to protect it? If the manufacturers think that a larger box makes the buyer think they are getting more for their money, all they are doing is setting the buyer up for greater disappointment. Read our packaging waste tips below for more guidance.

If they want to make their package difficult to steal, just install a small detector device which will sound an alarm unless it is de-activated at the check-out.

There are many thousands upon thousands of companies selling packaging materials, yet by comparison only a few details regarding the use of excess packaging.

So whilst the Great and the Good (?) debate this issue, is there anything ordinary Joe-public can do about this issue? When trawling around on Google it becomes apparent that the onus is placed fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the consumer.

The Great and the Good are now investigating ways to diminish packaging, and have instructed toy manufacturers, in particular, to see what can be done. Meantime, Read the packaging waste tips listed below for more guidance.

Meantime, ‘Which’ consumer magazine suggested the following guidelines -

Think before you buy. Do you really need this item?

Complain about packaging. Write to the manufacturer and demand a result. This is your money they have just taken from you.

Buy loose fruit and veg. See our page Street Markets

Pre-sliced and wrapped fruits and veggies cost up to 45% more than buying the whole thing. If you can store your fruit and veggies in a fridge - with the exception of bananas, oranges and potatoes - there is no problem in buying the whole item. Store potatoes in a dark, cool cupboard.

Buy refills and refillable packaging. Kenco are now advertising their coffee in sachets for easy refill of their jars. Let’s hope more manufacturers get the message!

Choose the least-packaging option. A difficult one, particularly if the item you want is the ‘best buy’ as far as design etc. are concerned. Write to the manufacturer drawing their attention to this.

If this applies to the packaging on ready meals choose the least-packaged option and see our page on Recipes.

Buy goods with recyclable packaging. This one and the next three require no explanation.

Compare pack sizes. Buy in bulk and the very obvious Buy less.

Whilst some of these options are easy to comply with, some of the above are stating the obvious.

As is pointed out in our Green Issues page this all boils down to plain old common sense.

Having spent some considerable time trawling around the Internet looking for solutions on unnecessary packaging waste, it appears that most of the Government organisations (Quangos) visited are peddling out-of-date information because their sites have not been maintained. This is technically another waste of resources – electricity and time wasted on a fruitless search and the actual point of the existence of Quangos.

Custom Search

If you think that packaging waste has become a big problem, just imagine how an elderly lady/man or a small child must feel when they are faced with a new product but can't open it. Packaging waste is a problem that needs to swiftly disappear and better security tags are needed to cut down on shoplifting.

Don't hold your breath on these points! Progress is likely to be slow. Meantime refer to our packaging waste tips above.

Post Script

Not directly relevant to this page on Packaging Waste, but certainly not irrelevant -

Whilst the Great and the Good (?) have been pondering over Climate Change in Copenhagen, December, 2009 and now South Africa, 2011 (and using 1200 limousines for good measure), did they not think of video conferencing as a 'greener' solution?

In addition:

Perhaps, starting on a self-help basis, if some Delegates made a root and branch pruning of the faulty systems in their own countries, and in a lot of cases, corruption, some of their problems could be very inexpensively solved. Or is that just too easy?

Bob Geldorf commented a few years back that many countries do not need aid but needed condoms instead. Probably a bit basic and frank, but he has a point.

Maybe the recent expensive TV campaign from 'Save The Children' for funds to help starving children should divert some of this money into birth control. This would prevent some of the problem before it started. Again probably too basic.

If you have any packaging waste tips
of your own please pass them on
- via the Contact Us page -
then everyone
will benefit.

Thank you.


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