From the Wall Street Journal, “A Consumer’s Guide to Growing Green,” Nov. 12, 2007.
The WSJ is only available with a subscription, but here is an excerpt I really liked:
We’ve become such a throw-away society. How do you fight it?
The EPA says solid waste, per person, has nearly doubled to 4.4 pounds a day from 2.7 pounds in the past 35 years — filling up landfill sites and wasting materials that could be reused to save natural resources and energy.
Although recycling is important, it isn’t as effective as reducing the use of materials from the get-go. One way to do this is to buy goods in concentrated, dry or bulk form to reduce transportation and packaging costs. Favor refillable or reusable items. Pick flexible packaging materials instead of rigid packaging, since flexible packaging typically takes less energy to make and transport. Pick goods with the highest ratio of product weight to packaging weight, when possible. Example: tuna in a foil pouch rather than in metal cans.