I’ve got a crayon box sitting on my desk. It had Crayola markers in it, 64 of them. One of them, garden green, has no colour and I’m going to send an email to Crayola about that. Maybe I will even get that done, off my to-do list, tonight.
I’m just looking at this box and thinking about the paper/ cardboard used to make this box which is now disposable. Thinking about all the years we had boxes of crayons, pencil crayons and pens and threw away boxes. Often they were kind of ripped up cause I did try to keep mine all tidy in their box as long as I could. But the box never could outlast a pencil case or metal crayon box (usually a cookie tin left over from Christmas).
Does it make anyone else feel kind of sad to think of the trees cut down to make packaging which we throw out soon after we bring the stuff home?
A crayon box isn’t big. One crayon box is just one crayon box. But, we bought a new bathtub for the renovations to add an apartment to the basement and that was a really big box, for one home, one family. It had to be strapped to the roof of a friend’s van to bring it here. The empty box had to be folded several times to fit into the trunk of the car. The recycling truck which picks up our cereal boxes, milk cartons and newspapers, would not take the bathtub box. The man on the truck explained that it would not fit on their truck. The box would take up too much space and they would not have enough room to load all the recyclables from the houses on their usual run. We would have to drive that box to the dump.
To the dump? That doesn’t sound like recycling.
So that isn’t what we did. I folded and semi-crushed that box until I could smoosh it into the trunk of the car. Then we drove it to the massive store (one of those huge parking lots with a row of massive chain stores to one side) where we had bought the bathtub. I dragged that box out of the car and put it into a handy shopping cart in the parking lot. I left it there. My small protest to too much packaging and the waste of too many trees.
This crayon box is still on my desk though. Still making me feel sad for the part of a tree it once was. Never to be a tree again. Was it worth it? To be cut down, pulverized, painted and folded and then stuffed with crayons only to be bought and then discarded? I don’t think so.
We need different packaging. Why can’t crayons be sold in a tin box which would last longer and not become dog earred and torn. A tin box could go to school and stay in a locker and then come home again. A tin box could last a kid from grade one to high school and beyond. The tin box could outlast the original crayons and end up holding pens and pencils when that kid starts their first job in some cubicle or something more interesting and unique. A tin box could be passed on to children of that child and then grandchildren. A tin box would only increase in value and be something treasured if it was kept by the family.
This cardboard box is never going to be any of those things. If I don’t take it to the blue box it will just be landfill, un-needed and unnecessary landfill. We have an overflow of landfill of this kind already.
So here is this one box. One box isn’t much. Like one tree in a forest, it’s just one and when it’s gone it makes a bit of room for saplings to reach up through the space and grab some sun for themselves. The problem is that it’s not just one tree or one box.
Think about all the packaging we take for granted, don’t even see it as we go through our day to day lives. There is such a ton of it. In a week you might be throwing away a whole tree. But, one tree isn’t much. Right?