Andi McDaniel has a piece entitled Can We Create a World Without Waste? at Alternet. I think it’s an important piece to read as the earth grows smaller… the places on this planet which we use as dumping grounds are getting closer and closer to people as developed areas and populations expand.
One of the ways to curb the trash we throw out is to be smarter about buying - avoiding whatever we do not need, and perhaps avoiding what is covered in too much packaging. But some manufacturers and sellers still insist upon using the paperboard, styrofoam trays, and the cling wrap (I’m looking at you, Trader Joe’s!) and a growing movement of people are pressing companies to take more responsibility of their products - not just their quality, but also their packaging, and the products themselves (in the case of electronics) after the product’s life cycle with the consumer.
The article gives a great introduction to the “Zero Waste” movement and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). The one thing I would have added is a mention of Cradle to Cradle, William McDonough does a fine job arguing that producers need to plan for materials reuse as early as the product design stages.