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.
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.
What products have you noticed that are using more packaging than necessary?