Prevention of packaging waste by consumers.
Waste prevention, like most environmental problems, is a matter of societal choice. Each of us as consumers, citizens and taxpayers bears some responsibility and can contribute to improving the situation. Here are some ideas:
- Avoid buying products that have unnecessary packaging.
The raison d'être of packaging is essentially the conservation and hygiene of the product, protection in the case of dangerous products and ease of transport (see our article "What is packaging used for"). If you feel that there is no other reason for packaging other than marketing, then do not buy that product. Prefer bulk when possible.
- Purchase portions adapted to your needs.
If your family loves yogurts, why not replace the small 125g jars with a one kilo family jar where everyone can help themselves to the quantity they want? Should your children be consuming single-portion industrial cheeses when we have great farmhouse cheeses?
- Prefer products made near you.
If the products have traveled little, it's a safe bet that tertiary packaging, intended to protect them during transport, is reduced. This also has the advantage of limiting greenhouse gas emissions induced by long transport and supporting local economic activity. see our article "Prevention of packaging by manufacturers" ).
- Prefer reusable packaging.
There are two types of reusable packaging: those that you can refill yourself (household products for example) and instructions.
- Prefer packaging made from recyclable ... and recycled materials.
Glass and steel are infinitely recyclable. The advantage of recycling these materials is threefold: it limits the amount of waste, saves natural resources and requires less energy than the manufacture of new raw materials. PET and HDPE plastics are easily recyclable: learn to recognize them. The paper is recyclable several times (see our article " Recycling techniques ").
But it is not enough that a material is recyclable: it must be effectively recycled. There are two main barriers to recycling:
- Some packaging is made from mixtures of materials, some of which are recyclable and others not. As the separation of materials is often too complicated and expensive, these packages end up in the landfill or incinerator. It is better to choose packaging made from a limited number of easily separable materials.
- Recycling channels are not active everywhere. Check with local authorities to find out what materials are recycled in your area. If some are not, lobby for them to be… and in the meantime choose packaging that is.