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Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
Your Choice Today Creates the Environments Tomorrow
One afternoon, a big UPS box arrived, containing a supplement I had ordered on the Internet. The supplement bottle was about 4x2x2 in size but was delivered in a Styrofoam box more than three times its size and surrounded by ice packs. The Styrofoam box was put into an even bigger cardboard box so that it could be labeled and shipped. Granting that the supplement had to be shipped at cooler temperature, the cardboard box itself looked a little too big for such a small bottle. I was overwhelmed by the amount of the packages (and materials) I had to deal with.

Modern packaging is a tricky and complicated issue. There are many factors influencing why packaging is valued so highly for both industries and individuals. The concept of packaging itself is not new -- packages have served humanity throughout history. They protect items from the elements, damage, spoilage, and so on. They also secure privacy and often serve as a way of marketing to the consumers. In short, packages have enhanced the quality of our life.

However, modern packages are often produced for only one-time uses -- destined to be thrown away immediately after they serve their purpose. Many are not even recyclable, or if they are recyclable, they may end up using more energy than they save in the process.

There are always consequences to every action.

Landfills are overflowing, and many cities are reluctant to be chosen as new landfill locations. Everyday waste is having a harder time finding space to be piled up. In twenty five years, the number of landfills in the United States went down from 18,000 to 2,300. Some items can be recycled, but the majority of the garbage that occupies the landfills is not recyclable or biodegradable.

Forests are losing their beauty and ecological balance. Trees are turned into paper and cardboard boxes for packaging purposes. Paper is fated mainly for the purpose of creating single-use disposable items, like coffee served in a paper cup at a shop for customers on the go. Hamburgers and deep fried food are wrapped in paper or put in cardboard holders. Gifts are put in boxes and wrapped with decorative paper or put in paper bags. These pieces of paper are all destined to be thrown away immediately after they accomplish their purpose � packaging. In the meantime, forests will take forever to recover their lost trees and disrupted ecosystems.

For the past decade, plastic consumption has dramatically increased � five times faster than the rate of plastic recycling. What makes the situation even more complicated is that different types of plastic materials are mingled in packages, making the effort to recycle even more difficult. Plastic recycling is still considered a very low priority. Producing and burning plastic also causes toxins in the air, which can harm the health of humans, animals and plants.

The idea of recycling is getting more and more attention. 100 million Americans recycle every day, but the overall rate of recycling rates has not increased. Many recovered materials are not made with recyclability in mind in the first place by product manufacturers. Instead of being recycled, they end up being made into inferior products (downcycling), burned or buried.

The possible negative impacts we face as a result of wasting materials are: deforestation, change of wildlife habitats, climate change, contaminated water, polluted air, toxins in foods and environments.

The human population in the world keeps growing. More countries will grow economically, which means they will face energy growth as well. Higher consumption of materials and goods along with fast economic growth will make it harder to reduce and conserve natural resources, and may end up producing more waste. The negative impact on environments is a further concern. In order to manage this issue, more organized energy standards need to be established that can be complied among many countries. At individual levels, consumers need to raise their awareness and look at the situation from a broader perspective. People must learn how each of us uses materials today and how this can have a significant impact on the environments of tomorrow. We need to create a world that is sustainable, not a world with a dead end. While there are companies striving to reduce waste materials, there are also things individuals can do in our daily lives. What we can do to reduce waste:
  • Carry water bottles
  • Use mug cups
  • Support coffee shops that offer re-usable ceramic cups
  • Use rags to clean things
  • Carry portable collapsible bags (such as ChicoBags and Envirosax)
  • For women, use re-usable menstrual pads (such as GladRags and Lunapads)
  • Consolidate errand trips
  • Reduce gift wrapping
  • Support shops that make efforts to reduce over-packaging

Special Note: Although every effort has been made to present healthy products and useful information to support your pets' health, the products and information contained within this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The contents of this site are not meant as a substitute for consultation with a trained veterinarian. If you are concerned about the health of your pets, you should ask your veterinarian for proper guidance suited to the specific condition of your pets. The owners of this website accept no liability for any consequences resulting from the use of products and/or information provided through this site. Please use your discretion when attending to your pets' health.
Special thanks to Fintan Darragh, Rich Bensen, Maggie, Jiji, and Mary Crissman for providing our pet pictures!
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