he  Nation's packaging wastes have increased
steadily in recent years—and they're expected to con-
tinue to increase.  One reason  is that the population
has  increased. Another reason  is that each American
has  been using more packaging materials  than ever
before. Cheese, for example, is now rarely cut to order
from a big wheel. Instead, it comes in  convenient,
sanitary packages, some even with each slice wrapped
separately. In drug, hardware,  and variety stores, our
system of self-service merchandising depends on the
package, not the sales clerk, to sell the product. Pack-
aging helps us as consumers, even though it also con-
tributes to our solid waste problems.
  By changing buying habits, consumers can slow,  or
even stop,  unnecessary increases in the amounts  of
packaging, materials used in the United States. You will
be helping to solve the Nation's solid waste problems
and  to conserve  our limited natural resources. Some
things you can do:

Put  as little  as

possible into  the

garbage can
At present, almost nothing
is salvaged or reused once
it gets into the  can. It is
so expensive to collect and
separate wastes that the sal-
vaged materials can't com-
pete with virgin materials.
Millions of tons of materials
are  salvaged in the United
States, but they  generally
have been collected, not from  garbage cans but from
industrial plants and businesses, where large quantities
of relatively pure  waste materials accumulate. A good
example is in the case of the corrugated cardboard box,
the  only  packaging now salvaged in sizeable quantity.
The boxes can be collected profitably from retail stores
because large numbers accumulate in one place, they
are  clean, and they are easily  separated and salvaged
for  reuse.

Don't buy  more

packaging  material

than you. need

                 It costs you money, and it makes
                 more solid wastes. Potato chips
                 are cheaper when packaged in ,a
                 bag—don't pay for an additional
                 box  or can, unless you need the
                 extra  protection they provide.
                 Check unit prices for the best
                 buy. For  example, cheese spread
                 is packaged in a variety of ways.
If it's in an aerosol can,  you're getting mostly can.
You're paying for convenience. Be sure it's worth the
price to you. And be sure to  recognize that, if your
choice means more solid wastes, you should be willing
to pay the price of proper disposal. Think solid wastes
before you buy!

Find new  uses

for  old packaging


Such discoveries are creative and fun. You'll also  be
saving money. For example, glass jars and plastic con-
tainers can be used  to store food or other household

                 materials. Gift wrap and ribbon
                 can often be ironed and used a
                 second time.         ^$3-^0
                 You can pick up useful ideasX
                 from newspaper columnists who
                 specialize in practical household
                 hints and consumer matters.
Discard your
packaging wastes
More than two-thirds of litter consists of
packaging materials, so if you dispose of
your packaging wastes in the right places,
you've done a lot to solve the litter problem. Did you
know that it costs an average of 25  cents to pick up
and dispose of each item of roadside litier? That money
is coming out of your tax dollars.

Compact  your
packaging wastes
before you
put them
into  the
garbage  can

You can fill milk cartons with
other wastes and stack cans inside
each  other. Better still,  flatten
everything you can.
Support  recycling

programs  in  your


They're a step in the right direction, and they make
you think more about the environmental and conserva-
tion side effects of what you do. Check your newspaper
to find out what materials are being recycled and where
           the  materials are  being accepted.  But
       ^^^ remember, in these voluntary pro-
               grams, you are collecting  and sep-
                 arating the wastes. Your support
                 and labor  enables the programs
                 t° continue.
                 You can start today to help solve
             the Nation's solid waste problems. Fol-
           low  these suggestions yourself,  and post
them so others can, too. Realize, however, that managing
your solid wastes  well at home is not enough to solve
the Nation's total problem. Another important contribu-
tion you can make is as a citizen and a taxpayer: Find
out how your community disposes of your solid wastes.
If your community's solid waste system  does not yet
meet accepted standards,  actively  support  whatever
measures are needed to enable it to operate a modern,
efficient system of solid waste management that pro-
tects, rather than  damages, the environment.
For more information write to:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, D.C. 20460
                                      ua 64i>r
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