I also recycle the bottles, cans and paper I use at home. However, my priority is to produce less waste to begin with. One of the ways I avoid waste is to buy only those products that are minimally packaged or entirely free of packaging. Usually, this is pretty easy. For example, a lot of foods are sold in bulk bins at a supermarket near where I work, so I bring my own containers and completely avoid disposable packaging.
Avoiding excessive packaging isn't as easy when it comes to buying memory sticks at the small electronics store near here. I recently looked at some SanDisk memory sticks that would have been great if not for their excessive, unenvironmental packaging. I e-mailed SanDisk a letter about the packaging:
Dear SanDisk representative,
I care about the environment, and for that reason I avoid purchasing products with excessive packaging.
I recently considered buying a SanDisk memory stick, but was disturbed by how much cardboard and plastic packaging surrounded it. I can understand using a little packaging to protect memory sticks from damage or theft, but cannot understand why a memory stick smaller than my thumb was encased in packaging larger than my entire hand. It seems very wasteful.
Additionally, I was disturbed to note that the plastic was PVC, which is associated with damage to the environment during its production and disposal, and which is not recyclable where I live. Although my main concern is the sheer quantity of packaging, I would also like to see a more environmentally friendly material than PVC used in packaging the memory sticks.
SanDisk's web site says that the first objective of its Environmental Management System is the "Prevention of pollution by limiting waste and promoting recycling." I am writing to urge SanDisk to consider this objective when packaging the company's memory sticks, using the least possible amount of packaging and ensuring that only environmentally friendly materials are used.
There's a larger store in a nearby city that sells memory sticks without any packaging, so I may buy a stick there the next time I'm out that way.