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Electricians share frustrations over company's product packaging: 'That's one thing that kills me about the construction industry'

"Every part we receive is wrapped in ten layers."

"Every part we receive is wrapped in ten layers."

Photo Credit: iStock

Normally, a good way to minimize excess packaging is to order in bulk. However, sometimes even wholesale suppliers go a little overboard with the plastic

One electrical supply house worker on Reddit just showed the internet how the parts they use at work are packaged — and it's not pretty. 

What happened? 

The post appeared on r/electricians, a subreddit dedicated specifically to situations that electricians encounter on the job. 

"I work at a supply house," said the original poster. "Check out how half-inch plastic bushings are coming in now." 

"Every part we receive is wrapped in ten layers."
Photo Credit: Reddit

The attached photo shows a cardboard box full of small, gray plastic rings. Each one is inside its own individual, resealable plastic bag. There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of the parts in the bag, which adds up to a lot of packaging. 

"That's one thing that kills me about the construction industry," said a frustrated commenter. "Every part we receive is wrapped in ten layers of the s***."

Why do the baggies matter?

Excessive plastic waste is becoming a major issue across America's commercial landscape. Manufacturing, transporting, and disposing of all that plastic takes tons of energy and resources and costs lots of money, which drives up prices for consumers. 

At the same time, the plastic itself is a problem for the environment. It's made from oil, which pollutes the area where it's extracted, and at the end of its lifespan, it becomes one of the most problematic forms of trash.

Plastic is very difficult to recycle, and most of it ends up as litter or in landfills. In either location, it can take 100 years or more to break down. As it does, it sheds microplastics — tiny pieces of plastic that end up polluting water sources and even build up inside the human body.

What can the provider do about this plastic waste?

Given how many electrical parts manufacturers there are, the best option would probably be for the original poster's employer to choose a different supplier, at least for the time being, if the manufacturer cannot tailor its shipments for bulk orders. The Redditor mentioned that the plastic baggies were new and older shipments didn't use so much packaging, so it's possible the supplier could change their policy again in the future. 

In a follow-up message, the original poster said they believed the manufacturer to be PECO Fasteners & Electrical Products. PECO has not responded to The Cool Down's email request for comment about its packaging procedures. 

What can I do to minimize plastic waste? 

Individuals can also choose providers that use minimal packaging for most products. Often, items are even available secondhand — which may mean that they come with no packaging at all. Buying from thrift stores or swapping with community members helps keep those items out of landfills and is great for the environment. 

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