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Junk Packaging: Where Do You Draw the Line?

Junk packaging is more than an annoyance in today’s threatened world.

It’s a scoff-Earth frittering away of precious resources from the junk’s cradle to its landfill grave.

But we’re so used to it that most of the time we sigh and buy, lugging home plastic bags and bottles and foam frames and fillers that we know we’re just going to throw away.

What choice do we have?

We can’t take our detergent and shampoo bottles back for refills. Even businesses that would like to refill your empties — like Annapolis’ Varuna Aveda Salon Spa at Park Place — say today’s laws won’t let them.

We haven’t yet unpacked our pharmaceuticals at the counter and left the cardboard boxes behind.

But after 38 Earth Days, we all know that by keeping our old, unquestioned habits, we’re kissing Mother Earth good-bye.

It’s time to form some new, Earth-friendly habits.

You see we didn’t just edit Carrie Madren’s story 15 Ways to Save the Bay in our Earth Day-Birthday issue last week.

We took it to heart.

Our first resolve this Earth Year is to decide where we draw the line.

We made the resolve last Saturday over the morning paper.

Newspaper sleeves, the long plastic sacks that protect your home-delivered daily from wet weather, are so coveted by dog-owners that we’ve heard some say they’d read the news online — if it didn’t mean giving up the bags.

Print advertising on the sleeve serves yet another purpose.

But on the weekend celebrating Earth Day, our home-delivered copies of the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun brought us sleeves that crossed the line.

Compliments of Brawny paper towels, the big plastic sleeves carried a Free sample — a single folded paper towel sealed inside a cellophane wrapper glued to a cardboard backing glued in a folded cardboard advertising card sealed in a plastic pocket seamed into the newspaper sleeve.

Worse, our sleeve was tucked inside our newspapers, both Saturday and Sunday — though other readers found their papers inside the sleeves.

That’s where we drew the line.

First, despite the free sample, we’ll not be buying Brawny paper towels.

Second, we’re writing this editorial to suggest that you, too, decide where you draw the line.

Third, Bay Weekly’s begun a series of information messages on how you can make a difference. This week’s: Refuse over-packaged products.

Starting today, we’ll evaluate each purchase for how it’s packaged as well as what’s inside.

As for those newspaper sleeves, besides being great for picking up dog poo, they’re the perfect size for storing papayas so big you can’t eat the whole thing.

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