Re-use of Plastic Packaging

By Land Wilson, Author of Sofia’s Dream

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The use of plastics in packaging is pervasive. For a year and a half now, I have saved most of my plastic waste in an effort to see my impact on our county landfill. Though I look like one of those extreme hoarders on TV with bundles of plastic lying around, I have a better understanding of my impact. What an eye opener!

As my bundles started multiplying, I was faced with what to do with all of this material that has briefly served me and its manufacturers, but will not serve countless generations to follow. In my searching for a way to use these materials, I have found that once cleaned, a lot of food packaging can be washed, then air-dried, and then stored in a clean drawer in the refrigerator for ongoing use. Also, lots of plastic packaging is good packing material. Wads of clean potato chip bags, bread bags, nut bags and frozen food bags do a nice job at protecting things I ship. With a little note asking the receiver of a package to use the materials again, sometimes my discards may get re-used.
While the re-use of plastic packaging does slow down its buildup in our environment, a better solution is to decrease the amount of plastic we take into our homes. This is a challenge because even grocery stores who profess concern for the environment still rely heavily on plastics. We have to keep doing our best by buying food in bulk in conjunction with more widespread use of reusable bags and containers. And for those plastics that we just can’t live without, the use of 100% biodegradable and compostable packaging free of all polyethylene is a more responsible solution. 
I like what our local garbage guru, Joe Garbarino says, “If it cannot be recycled, it shouldn’t have been made in the first place.” These are wise words from a man who knows all about garbage and landfill.

9 thoughts on “Re-use of Plastic Packaging

  1. There is no better way to realize your plastic consumption than by saving it for an extended period of time. I’ve done that and it’s embarrassing, to say the least. Trying not to buy plastic or any kind of packaging is a challenge, too. When you consider the oil embedded in each piece of throwaway, it’s no wonder the environment is at risk.

  2. We just moved our home and office, so we needed to make some acquisitions to get settled into both locations. I was stunned by the amount of packaging materials we acquired in the process. Wow! As they all still reside in our garage, I will accept the challenge to figure out how best to reuse them! Thanks for the perspective, Land.

  3. I like plastics. We benefit from them in countless ways. But, I want us to be more responsible with them. My two pledges to Sofia are to work at getting all plastics recyclable and getting everyone on earth to pick up one piece of plastic trash a day. Thanks, LPP! ~Land

  4. I loved this article! I’m in the process of studying everything I buy, and trying to figure out packaging-less alternatives. A lot of those involve learning to make a lot of food from scratch, with ingredients bought in bulk. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. I really enjoy this view on recycling, and re-using the plastic we do use! When I moved into a new house, we went about three weeks without garbage & recycling service because the previous tenants had an issue with MSS that needed to be taken care of. Seeing how much waste was accumulating over that short period of time really was an eye-opener as well. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Thank you for opening my eyes to more ways I can help the planet and recycle! You are an inspiration to us all Land!

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