Greener Choices

April 18, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Ever order something and it arrives in a really big box much-too-big for the item you received? Consumer Reports did some ordering recently, and wait till you see what arrived.Paper products, like the cardboard boxes used for shipping and packaging, make up a third of the municipal solid waste in the United States. Could we cut back?

Consumer reports' Mandy Walker said people routinely send in letters complaining about small items arriving in way too much packaging.

To see for itself, Consumer Reports ordered small items from 13 companies, including Avon, Staples, drugstore.com, oriental trading company, and best buy.

Mandy walker said, "We were really surprised to find so many tiny items came in boxes that were way too big."

For example, this package from drugstore.com contains just one lip balm. This box from Avon arrived with just one lip balm as well.

Inside this box from the oriental trading company - just one small vial of beads.

And look at this box from staples - it could easily fit 200 pencils but contains ? just one.

Walker added, "We consulted a packaging expert and found that companies can save money if they buy the same size boxes for everything they ship."

But not everything arrives over-sized. This small pack of batteries ordered from Quixtar came in a small shipping envelope.

Less packaging could make a real difference. If we cut back the use of cardboard from 100 tons to 90, it would save more than 5,300 pounds of waste, 20,000 gallons of wastewater and more than 34,000 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Some companies, like Avon, Staples, and Lands End, told consumer reports they recycle thousands of tons of cardboard a year. There's plenty you can do to make a difference in the amount of waste generated. You'll find some helpful tips on our web site:
Greener Choices

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