Cardboard and Home-made Napalm.

Clearing out the Loft

Clearing out the loft is a bit of a random thing to talk to about, but there is a train of thought following my efforts.

I have lived in this old house for about twenty-five years and in that time, I have had a bit of an obsession with keeping the boxes that most things come in (the retail packaging).

Now I here you saying, why would you do this?

There is method in my madness and that’s most Electrical items you buy come with a warranty and if you read the small print carefully after you register the warranty online, or years ago by post maybe and there is usually a clause in that requiring to send off the offending item for repair in the original packaging.

Yes, that will be the same stuff that most normal people throw away the day after you buy something.

Now in fairness I think I can count on one hand the times that I have needed the packaging and had to return something for repair or replacement to the manufacturer, usually high value item such as TV’s etc.

The last time being a 42” Panasonic Plasma TV that the mainboard failed in less than twelve months old, now that was one energy sucking beast and you could almost cook on the heat given off by that bad boy.

Now that was a long time ago and also one of the reasons, I changed it was the ever-rising cost of energy and more energy efficient technological advances resulting in a much larger TV, that uses a 6th of the amount of the old Plasma did.

Anyway, I digress and back to the loft and the ever-expanding collection of boxes over such a long period of time.

Like most people I tend not to venture into the loft too much until we reached the point where the box collection was taking up far too much room and let’s face it, in twenty-five years that’s a lot of Electrical devices that had come and gone.

In fact, when I actually started to look through and throw out boxes of items that had long since gone to the Electrical graveyard or just simply been replaced with newer upgraded versions.

Now after several hours (yes there really was that many boxes), cluttering up the top of the landing , all down the staircase and spilled over into the hallway much to my wife’s disgust at the mess , it was time to break down the monster and put out for recycling.

So, the only logical way to do this was break everything down and separate into recyclable and non-recyclable and this is where from a sustainability point of view it gets interesting.

Now most things nowadays you would like to think would be packaged with the environmental impact taken into consideration, wouldn’t you?

Well the Environment was less of a hot topic over twenty years ago as it is today with plastic waste chocking our oceans, it was an eye opener breaking down boxes as to who even many years ago was way ahead of their time in terms of sustainable packaging and who even more recently definitely is sat in the naughty corner in terms on un-recyclable packaging.

On the good list and taking top marks were Dyson, as their entire box and contents was all cardboard, next on a par if not better were Vax as I noticed their inner cartons formed to the shape of the carpet cleaner was all made from formed cardboard pulp.

Same story with PURE the very early pioneers of DAB radios with again all preformed pulp cardboard pulp.

Even Apple and this has been the case for some years are way up there in terms of cardboard packaging of phones, Ipads, in fact pretty much all their product range.

Now onto the Naughty list with overuse of the planets most non environmentally friendly material “polystyrene”, yes that god awful stuff was Panasonic and Samsung (mainly TV boxes), joining them was Sony in the hall of Shame, closely followed by Brother printers and Hewlett Packard.

Now given some of those boxes were a few years, even two decades old, then some can be forgiven and one would hope that they are now promoting more sustainable packaging, but the TV Manufacturers have got a long way to go since those boxes were only two to three years old.

I was pleased that I could put out four large boxes crammed full of Cardboard and another six bags to go to recycling, but far less happy with the five black bags worth of completely non-recyclable Polystyrene that will probably go to Landfill which does make me sad.

As tempting as it was to turn it into home made napalm and sell it on the black market, that wasn’t a viable or legal option.

So, in terms of Sustainable packaging we have still got some way to go and lets hope that manufacturers and retailers can now do the planet a favour and stop using non-recyclable packaging.

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