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Photo of egregious hardware product packaging sparks frustration online: 'That is infuriating'

This kind of packaging ultimately drives up prices for buyers.

This kind of packaging ultimately drives up prices for buyers.

Photo Credit: iStock

While some areas have tried to reduce plastic waste by banning or taxing specific products, including straws and plastic bags, this approach leaves gaping loopholes for companies to harm the environment and drive up prices with plastic waste. One social media user called out the hypocrisy in a recent post.

What happened?

In r/mildlyinfuriating, this Reddit user made it clear they were fed up. "In Colorado we have a plastic waste reduction measure that forces consumers to pay for plastic bags. I just liberated a small amount of hardware from double-bagged packaging," they complained.

This kind of packaging ultimately drives up prices for buyers.
Photo Credit: Reddit

In their photo, around 20 cabinet handles — specifically, "tapered bow pulls" from Liberty Hardware — and the accompanying bolts were laid out on the floor. Next to them was a huge pile of small plastic baggies, each with a label and barcode. A partially-extended measuring tape showed the pile was over a foot long and wide, even though the individual pieces were likely too small to recycle safely.

And all that to protect a few dozen kitchen fixtures from scratches. "That is infuriating," one user said.

Why does it matter if parts come wrapped in plastic?

Given that some basic paper or cardstock would easily protect these parts, double-wrapping them in plastic is excessive. The more wrapping used, the more it costs the manufacturer to package them, and the more time it takes contractors to unwrap them — ultimately driving up prices for buyers.

Also, plastic is an environmental issue. It takes a century or more to break down in nature, so it tends to hang around, harming wildlife and shedding microplastics. Best case scenario, it takes up space in a landfill for the next 100 years.

Despite these problems, more and more hardware providers are wrapping individual components in plastic. Further, the frustration stated by the OP was that they had to pay for a plastic bag at the store but companies can implement practices such as this, likely with no fee. 

What is Liberty Hardware doing about plastic waste?

According to Liberty's website, the company has taken small steps to remove trash from the environment. To celebrate Earth Day, some employees participated in a trash cleanup project. However, that is a drop in the bucket compared to the plastic waste it's producing.

What can I do to avoid creating plastic waste?

Step one is to look for manufacturers and retailers with plastic-free packaging so you can support them instead of more wasteful alternatives.

Step two is to start cutting plastic out of your daily routine. That might mean switching to bar soap and a natural loofah instead of liquid soap and a plastic-based sponge or scrubber. You can also get a reusable water bottle. There are hundreds of fun and easy ways to oust plastic from your life and stop contributing to the problem.

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