Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Smaller Packaging, Bigger Waste

I've been thinking this for a while, and I was happy that treehugger posted about the shrinking packaging size of consumer goods (at least here in the US).

One thing I learned in school, especially geometry and science, is that when you reduce the size of something it increases the surface area to volume ratio. That means as something decreases in size there is more outside needed to contain the inside.

With a number of companies decreasing container sizes to keep prices consistent, they are sacrificing amount of waste. Shrinking containers mean that for the same amount of product their is more packaging and therefore more waste in our landfills.

This is why bulk foods and concentrated products are so environmentally friendly, because they use a lot less packaging. One company that does a great job of this is Shaklee, which has a number of concentrated products that reduce the amount of garbage in the landfill. For example, Shaklee's full home cleaning kit is so concentrated that it saves 108 lbs. from entering the landfill compared to conventional "ready to use" cleaners available out there.

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