Campaign to Reduce Package Waste

By now nearly everyone, barring a few ostriches with heads buried deep in the sand, have recognized that climate change is a problem.  As a result, we sometimes hear intelligent people protesting that we can't possibly cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.  But before we give up on that goal, we need to examine the incredibly wasteful habits we have become accustomed to.

Packaging is an example.  The containers that house the products we buy are designed to advertise by occupying more shelf space, thereby catching the consumer's attention.  Take a look in the photo at the amount of packaging used to house two small ink jet printer cartridges. 

Every ton of PET plastic manufactured for this type of package produces around three tons of carbon emissions.  Moreover, excess packaging volume and weight greatly increase carbon emissions created from shipping products.

As long as consumers continue to buy products housed in large, flashing containers without giving a thought to environmental impact, companies will have no choice but to continue to present products in this fashion.  This will not change until consumers demand that it changes.

We are beginning by asking you to sign our letter to Hewlett-Packard.  We are not picking on HP because they are the worst offender.  We simply have to start somewhere, and this seems as good an example of egregiously wasteful packaging as any.

If you would like to target other examples of very wasteful packaging for additional campaigns, please send requests, along with a photo of the wasteful packaging, to  We will add these to our on-site campaign.

Dear Hewlett-Packard,

We the undersigned are writing to request that you reduce the amount of wasteful packaging used to house your ink cartridges.  We realize that packaging is used for advertising and that large packages draw more attention to your products.  We also understand that HP has taken significant steps toward reducing its impact on the environment by reducing packaging in the past, offering to recycle used ink cartridges, using recyclable PET plastic containers, and using 30% post consumer recycled paper for packaging.

Nevertheless, as you know, many authorities on climate science have warned that allowing the worldwide climate to rise above pre-industrial levels by 2 degrees centigrade or more would lead to disastrous consequences.  They have also estimated that in order to avoid those consequences, we need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050.  Given the difficulty of that challenge and the consequences of failing to achieve it, we believe that consumers and companies must make significantly greater efforts to reduce energy use.

According to the Pacific Institute, "The manufacture of every ton of PET produces around 3 tons of carbon dioxide."  Moreover, excess packaging volume and weight greatly increase carbon emissions created from shipping products.  We want HP and other companies to use less plastic and reduce the weight and volume of their packaging.  That is why we want HP to know that we will be purchasing products that do not stand out on the shelf - products that use less, not more.  This is a simple step that we can take in order to preserve a healthy planet for future generations.

By substantially reducing wasteful packaging and publicizing the environmental benefit of this action, HP has an opportunity to take the lead on an issue that will eventually be widely recognized by the public as a matter of serious concern.

Thank you for giving this matter your attention.

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