Packaging-free initiatives make no sense


There's no doubt that waste is a huge problem. Just check out these stats from the EPA: 32 million tons of plastic waste was generated in 2012, representing 12.7 percent of total MSW. In 2012, the United States generated almost 14 million tons of plastics as containers and packaging, about 11 million tons as durable goods such as appliances, and almost seven million tons as nondurable goods, such as plates and cups.

Clearly, recycling must increase. But not everyone agrees. Some believe the answer to reducing waste is just to get rid of single-use packaging altogether, a fact that is easier said than done.

For instance, a supermarket in Berlin called Original Unverpackt, which translates to Original Unpackaged, recently opened. But while the store is single-use packaging free, it's not entirely free of packaging. The store places dry food in containers and asks consumers to bring their own reusable packaging. Liquid food is sold in jars or bottles that have a deposit on them. There's no meat or cheese sold.

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