It’s all in the packaging

We have been astounded at the amount of packaging that moves through our house.

I can say “moves through” because a couple of months ago, one of our TV channels changed from Discovery Home, I think, to Planet Green. Then we watched “Living With Ed,” which we’d encountered before elsewhere (and I now want the book, “Living Like Ed”), and “Wa$ted” sold us completely. On the show, households are told their ecological footprint, which tends to be hundreds of times larger than their actual land size, given tips and three weeks to change their act, and awarded money to equal what their savings over a year would be.

Some things we haven’t done yet, but will soon. More insulation before winter is a must, and the dual-flow toilets I’ve been able to find locally have scary prices ($500 and up) so we won’t go that route but we might try an $80 conversion kit I found online.

What these shows really did, though, was shame us into recycling. Where we live, curbside recycling alternates weekly between paper and glass/plastic/tin. All we had ever managed, though, was to drag out the newspapers – although in our defense, with up to four daily newspapers thanks to my puzzle addiction, they do add up.

No more. We kept the recycling bin for the newspapers separate and put two others in the back entry. They are steps away from the kitchen sink, so rinsing something and tossing it in a bin takes only seconds extra from tossing it in the trash.

My son remarked on the difference after about three weeks. “You know, we only have about half as much trash now,” he said, and he was right. It is shocking how much space we filled every week with things we should have been sending somewhere else. And with that realization we can never go back to throwing things away.

This post originally appeared on, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.

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