I was listening to an interview on NPR tonight with a British couple who kept their garbage output to one can-full last year. Total. This year, they're trying to not have any garbage. When they shop, they look at the packaging (or bring their own packaging, such as to the butcher) and see if it can be reused or recycled.
It's easy to look at people like that and think how environmentally crazy they are. I mean, they must really be sold out to the cause in order to put all that work into it. Or maybe we think it's an admirable feat, but not attainable for the common person.
At the same time, I was thinking about our ancestors. In many ways, garbage is a fairly recent phenomenon (and look at the impact it has had on our landscape in the last century since it's become prevalent). When my great-grandparents settled in Iowa from Sweden, everything they purchased was used. Nothing was thrown away. There wasn't packaging that didn't get reused in some way.
Am I ready to change all my purchasing habits? There are somethings that may not be practical in our economic status, but that doesn't mean I can't be more conscientious of what I do. Even just letting companies know that I would like to see less packaging--or more recyclable packaging is a step in the right direction.