Take a Few Inches Off Your WASTE

March 03, 2009

I've said it before and I'll say it again - Products and packaging simply need to be designed better. The argument of the economy over the environment no longer holds truth. State governments and tax payers are fed up with having to pay for the disposal of waste created by products and packaging. Maybe you didn't know that in 2006 the state of California paid $400,000 to dispose of mailed AOL discs... and they are just one company! According to the book The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken, there is 25 pounds of waste created for every pound of product produced. Did I mention that figure didn't include the packaging?! Companies creating any type waste have no long term responsibility other than paying their monthly garbage bill. The long term effects to the environment have always been overlooked. Our neighbors to the north understand there is a problem but they are actually doing something about it. In 2006 the average Canadian created over 2400 lbs of waste annually and that number is growing rapidly. There has been recent discussion in Canada to shift the burden to the companies to create better sustainable packaging alternatives for their products or pay for the cost of the disposal. Packaging needs to be reduced, recycled, reused or re-purposed. Sending packaging to a landfill is not the option. Recycling waste or products is only one part of the solution. Creating products and packaging from recycled waste needs to be the other part of the discussion. In early 2000, William McDonough coined the phrase Cradle to Cradle. The Cradle to Cradle philosophy has become a design principal for creating products that are made of recycled materials and then can be easily recycled or re-purposed at the end of their life cycle. The Cradle to Cradle philosophy needs to become the standard if we choose to preserve what we often take for granted.

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