31 Mar 2015

Less contents more packaging

Rant:  Unnecessary packaging
CBC recently aired an episode of Marketplace called Shrinking Products:  Grocery Games.  They are making consumers aware that manufacturers are selling less product in a package in order to hide a price increase.  This has never impressed me, but the other problem with this marketing trick is that it creates more packaging waste and it means more raw resources are required for packaging.

If you think of the empty roll wrapping paper comes on as a package for a product that comes in a can, one roll would have 2 metal ends.  If you make the tube shorter, by cutting the tube in three, like the length of a paper towel roll, it would take 4 more ends to package the amount that was in the wrapping paper tube.  If you cut the paper towel rolls in half, like the length of a toilet paper roll, it would take another 6 ends to package the same amount that was in the wrapping paper tube.  That means we have gone from 2 metal ends for the wrapping paper roll, to 10 metal ends for the toilet paper size (roll proportions may not be as described - it is for illustration purposes only).  That is 5 times more ends.  When you multiply this by the vast quantities that are produced, the impact is significant.

Cookies have gone from 350g to 300g.  Peek Freans reduced their packaging, but PC chocolate chunk cookies uses a tray with a lot of unnecessary plastic.  Yes, I can recycle the tray, but why use so much plastic in the first place?  Producing plastic creates air pollution and not everyone will recycle it so it will end up in a landfill.  I don't buy the PC cookies as often now because of this.  The packaging for Oreo cookies has been minimized to fit their 300g package.

shrinking products, packaging, tj's green adventure
There was a time when tissues had 150 in a box.  Now they have gone from 136 to 100 in a box.  That's 25% less tissues in each box and it will require more box tops and bottoms to package them.

waste packaging, waste reduction, tj's green adventure
Clementine's have gone from 5lb per box to 4lb.  That's 20% less in a box.  It will take a lot more sides and corner wood pieces for packaging now.

The one that really gets me is frozen orange juice.  If you think back to the wrapping paper tubes, this smaller size will require a lot more metal to package the product.  And, do manufacturers think we have nothing better to do with our time than make orange juice every day?  My juice jug holds 2 litres and the new frozen orange juice size makes just a little over 1 litre.

Manufacturers need to implement green strategies that will respect our environment, not harm it.

Green Highlights:
  • none
What products have you noticed that are using more packaging than necessary?

26 Mar 2015

Unclogging the kitchen sink

It wasn't that long ago that I had to unclog the bathroom sink and now the kitchen drain is running slow.  This one is mostly due a build up of grease.  It only took me a few seconds to unclog this drain and get it running freely again and all I used was this plunger and some hot water.
clogged drains, safe drain cleaning, TJ's green adventure
I have a double kitchen sink where we use the left side for all the dirty work.  When you look down the drain you can see the greasy build up and the other side stays pretty clear.  The plunger is kept under the kitchen sink and is only used for unclogging the kitchen sink.

The first thing to do to clear the drain is to put the plug in the right drain.  Then get out the plunger and put it over the left drain.  Next, turn on the hot water and let it run until there is water sitting in the bottom of the sink.  With the hot water still running, start plunging.  You need to make sure you have suction because that is what clears the drain pipes.

Green Highlights:
  • chemical free cleaning
Do you have your own environmentally friendly way of cleaning sink drains? 


5 Mar 2015

The Project - Part 1 - The Purge

Dealing with the stuff in the room

The first thing we tackled was the stuff sitting in the family room.  Surprisingly, a lot of the stuff collected in this room was already set aside to be donated, but it was never followed through.  So, we sorted what we will donate and set prices on what we plan to sell on Kijiji.  We labeled boxes and bags with the name of the organization we will be giving the donations to, so they will be ready to go.
We will also be getting rid of some furniture.  There is a TV cabinet that we have posted on Kijiji and we will be selling the sofa and matching chair.  Before the sofa and chair are posted for sale though, we need to remove any items that have fallen down inside them.  I should have started with the sofa because now that the chair has been cleaned out, the sofa seems like a much bigger job.  I felt like I was a magician pulling things out of a magic hat cleaning out the chair.  I found toys the size of my hand, play jewelry, barrettes and even the key to the freezer.  That key has been missing for years.  Why didn't I think of looking in the chair for it??
We will also go through all our movies and games that were stored in the TV cabinet to decide what we will keep and find new homes for the ones we will get rid of.
renovating, Kijiji, donating, tj's green adventure
the dark family room - the flash makes the room look bright when it is not

Green Highlights:
  • reuse by donating
  • reuse by selling on Kijiji
Do you use Kijiji or Craig's List or is there another site you like to use to sell stuff?