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How about 5 Rs?

March 5, 2007

This past weekend I was listening to CBC Radio One while doing some work for a friend in his basement. While listening to Definitely Not The Opera, host Sook-Yin Lee brought up a very good point in terms of the “3 Rs”. I have previously argued that there should be 4 Rs, with “Repair” being added to the traditional three. Well, Sook-Yin brought up another one that Sarah McGaughey has been praciting that is equally valid, yet almost unexercised in Western society: Refuse.

A good part of the problem is overpackaging of consumer goods. Personally, I like how Germany handled packaging concerns with their Green Dot program. Until something similar happens over on this side of the pond, refusing to accept over-packaged items may be your only alternative to having to attempt to reuse, recycle, or landfill excess packaging. Bottled water – I’m looking at you.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 19, 2007 9:58 pm

    how can bottled water be overpackaged? all the ones I can think of include bottles, caps to match, shrinkwrapped around a cardboard tray. Hard to imagine a more efficient way of packaging 24 bottles…

    Toys, OTOH. Now that’s another story.

  2. March 23, 2007 12:46 pm

    I consider bottled water to be overpackaged because you can get it out of the tap, instead of packaged in single-use bottles wrapped in plastic and shipped across 1000’s of kilometers. Get an on-tap or under-sink filter instead!

  3. tish-70s permalink
    March 24, 2007 1:28 am

    Consider the lightbulb Robert – a delicate item sold in thin cardboard packages (renewable) – VS a plastic bottle of water in a cardboard tray (including hard plastic cap) and shrink wrapped.

    Think about it.

    Besides, the water you’re drinking from those plastic bottles is probably the same stuff you get from your kitchen sink tap, or your kitchen sink tap using a Brita (or similar) filter.

  4. vicki permalink
    July 4, 2007 9:36 am

    i agree. overpackaging items is a big problem. i certainly like my bottled water but i refuse to by them in bulk for those very reasons. i just carry around a nalgene-like bottle and fill it with filtered water. however, i dont agree with tish-70s comment about the source of water in plastic bottles. im very picky about my water so i do a lot of research on companies and feel fairly confident that when i do buy bottled water (which is infrequent), it actually comes from the source it claims to originate from(and i buy the biggest size possible).

    i try to repair things as often as i can but i admit its not so much motivated out of my concern for the earth as much as it is a way to satisfy my curious nature. ive been refusing certain things like (plastic and paper) bags for nearly a decade now. again, it wasnt so much about being eco friendly at the time as it was about always having a backpack on. now, i just use a cloth bag.

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