Packaging Waste Management

What Is Packaging Waste?

The Definition

Packaging is anything used to contain, protect, handle, deliver or present raw materials and processed goods.

Common Questions

The average household in the UK produces more than a tonne of waste every year. Put together, this comes to a total of 31 million tonnes per year, equivalent to the weight of three and a half million double-decker buses, a queue of which would go around the world two and a half times.

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The new study, published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, is the first global analysis of all plastics ever made—and their fate. Of the 8.3 billion metric tons that has been produced, 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste.

Here are the numbers: Americans generated 251 million tons of trash in 2006, the most recent year for which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has data. Our per capita trash disposal rate was 4.6 pounds per person, per day.

How Can We Reduce Packaging Waste?

Tips for Reducing Packaging Waste:

Carry your own reusable bag, water bottle, coffee cup, straw and utensils.  

Buy in bulk. This will save you money on top of reducing packaging waste.  

Buy loose products, such as fruits and vegetables, instead of pre-packaged packs.

When comparing similar items from two brands, choose the one with less packaging. 

Reuse packaging products, like paper and plastic bags, tins and wrapping paper whenever possible.

When you do have packaging, look for the How2Recycle Label, which is a standardized labeling system with clear recycling instructions. 

Find alternatives to buying a new product. CraigslistNextdoor and Facebook Marketplace all offer plenty of used goods in your neighborhood, and you can also check Freecycle to see if the item is available for free from a neighbor.

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