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Leavin’ it all behind…at the cash register!

November 02 2009 | Rise Above Plastics,
by scott harrison


Okay Grassrootsers - time to take action with a growing movement to send a message to manufacturers & retailers: Nix the excess packaging!!!

What is it? It's a new-ish idea-as-a-nascent-movement and at this point, is loosely referred to as Leave All Of Your Packaging Behind. Our good friend, Anna Cummins of Algalita fame, broached the idea at a gathering of activists a couple of weeks ago and for now, I can only describe the intent, the action, the desired result and where to connect with others that are activating on it.

The Intent: Reduce the production of extraneous packaging plastics and packaging in general...thereby reducing garbage, thereby reducing garbage...that reaches our oceans.

The Action: This is easy...just de-package your purchases at the retailer checkstand and leave that trash behind for the store to deal with - why is it your problem?

The Desired Result: So much of what we buy comes with packaging that serves no purpose other than to fill landfills (and oceans) and we'd suspect that this action, if adopted widely, could push the message through the retailers "up" to the manufacturers, "Hello, you needn't wrap your products in so much trash do ya?". Now...granted, many manufacturers are already moving away from over-packaging practices, and logically, they'll be rewarded by not feeling the 'heat' of this action, yes? ...and a lot of packaging is designed simply as a security "aid" (more difficult to stash a packaged single banana in your pocket than it would be unpackaged), but that's the store's problem and not ours, for sure.

Where To Connect: This idea is just forming and I was unable to find a website (perhaps you will build one?), outside of the very new "Cause" of the same name on Facebook:

Find the FB Cause here.

If you are on FB, join the cause, if you're not a FB'r, spread the word (in the parlance of the day) "virally", to your friends, family, and others. The FB Cause sports a feature allowing you to tell your (de)packaging anecdotes to the group...

Two things to consider:

1) Stay outta trouble! Dont go causing a ruckus and getting yourself arrested trying to make a statement over at the local solar-powered Walmart, just keep cool and take what you paid for and leave behind what you didnt (pay for). Remember the old honey/vinegar attractiveness ratio - mom wasn't wrong on that one.

2) Some have expressed concern that "at least the stuff will get recycled at my house if I take it home." A valid concern! This movement may become more effective as an organized quarterly, or monthly (ala Critical Mass, if you're familiar) action. Stay tuned for more info on that angle, but for now, just try it out and see how it works! Also know that major retailers bale up the cardboard that they accumulate for recycling.

A recent entry on the Huffington Post raises the problematic issues of excess packaging - check it out here! It plants the seed that we should all be "voting with our dollars" by avoiding items wrapped in too much junk packaging.

Long one - sorry - but this is just getting started and how better to get the word out, than to get the word out!?!

Happy De-Packaging Holidays!
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