Q: What is resource conservation and why is it important?

A: Through effective resource conservation, we can minimize our impact on the planet by using the earth's resources wisely. To do this, we must more efficiently manage natural resources and lessen the environmental impact of the products we use, from raw materials to production to distribution and on through ultimate disposal. In other words, you should strive to minimize the energy consumed and wastes generated during production, as well as through the life of a product and on to final disposition.

Q: What can I do to conserve resources?

A: In order to conserve resources, you must know about the resources utilized and the way in which they are consumed. Then decisions can be made based upon facts. Some simple actions include carpooling to work or taking public transportation, turning off lights in empty rooms, selecting the energy saver mode on your dishwasher, turning down thermostats at night during the winter and purchasing items with the most efficient packaging.

Q: How do plastics contribute to effective resource conservation?

A: From production through use to waste management, plastics help conserve resources. Their unique properties and characteristics-light weight, durability, formability-enable manufacturers to minimize the raw materials used, energy consumed and waste generated in the production of goods ranging from automobiles to coffee cups. It's important to think about all those steps in a product's life cycle-not just what happens when a product's useful life is over-to get a true picture of its environmental performance.1,2,3,4

  1. "Packaging Without Plastics: Ecological and Economic Consequences from a Packaging Material Market Without Plastics," The Society for Research into the Packaging Market (Germany), 1992.
  2. "Total Energy Consumption for the Production of Plastic Products in 1995," Franklin Associates, Ltd., 1996.
  3. "Plastic Packaging: Opportunities and Challenges," R.F. Testin, Ph.D., and P.J. Vergano, Sc.D., 1992.
  4. "Resource and Environmental Profile Analysis of Polyethylene and Unbleached Paper Grocery Sacks," Franklin Associates, Ltd., 1990.

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