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CarbonCurb Action 19
Resist excessive packaging and recycle.


The reduce, reuse, recycle drum has been beaten to death, yet somehow we Americans have a recycling system that is far inferior to many other nations'. A superior alternative to recycling is to resist allowing the materials that should be recycled into your home in the first place. Similar to resisting plastic bags in Action 16, you should resist all forms of excessive packaging in all of your purchasing decisions. If you do so, you'll find yourself making fewer trips to the recycle bin or dumpster. Let's use spinach as an example. There is the spinach that is sold in those gaudy plastic boxes, and there is also unpackaged spinach. What will your decision be?


In this modern era, packaging goes beyond the brick and mortar stores and extends into online markets. Amazon is full of non-essential items wrapped in excessive packaging, which then get wrapped in more packaging to be delivered to someone's door. Resist the clutter and quit promoting companies that decide to go overboard with the packaging. Batteries used to be sold in open containers. You could simply grab the exact amount you needed. Now you must buy a certain number of batteries and cut your fingers off just trying to get the things out. Or, you can get some rechargeables, but that is beyond the scope of this Action. For the purposes of this Action, let's focus only on paper materials, glass, aluminum, and plastics. Ignoring the greater benefits of avoiding single-use packaging materials, if you can recycle 90% of each of the aforementioned categories that make it into your home, the annual benefit relative to the recycling rate of the average American will be:

Annual Savings:
430 kg CO2e
2.7% of your emissions


Adopt Action 19:



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