What shocked me most about this list was Coke -- another example of a mega-profitable corporate giant not living up to its responsibilities, much less keeping their word.
I think one of the worst offenders is Lunchables. A plastic tray with individual compartments for erstwhile food items, wrapped in plastic with a chipboard label. Three, and on some items like sauce packets that have four, layers of wrapping to get to the foodstuff. Plus, it is often used for kids lunches -- teaching them that this is optimal. While this is a small item, it is sold in huge volume and is truly a 'posterpackage' for needless overpackaging. I have heard -- although I couldn't give a reference for this that there are even some schools that have banned this product from their cafeterias.
Lunchables are right up there at the top of the list. Several individually wrapped items all wrapped up in more packaging that's not recyclable. The new Frito Lay product with the salsa and chips individually wrapped in plastic is a beaut, too. It's really a ton of work to buy a bag of chips and a jar of salsa! I think if you were in a hurry, and wanted to get to the food fast, it would take longer to open the Frito Lay snack pack than it would to open a bag of chips and a jar of salsa. Haven't timed it, but I could be persuaded.
Campbell's quick lunch microwaveables are also a waste. The container is a mix of metal and plastic, has both plastic and aluminum lids, and is definitely destined for the dump. Breakfast Mates was my all-time favorite, but Kellogg's discontinued the product, because it wasn't selling. People saw through the ruse.
McDonald's happy meals. Kids love them, landfills don't.
My personal favorite: Kool-Aid Kool Bursts
Dentyne Ice Gum comes in a paperboard package and uses foil and plastic inside the paperboard. I won't buy it.
Newman's Own Organics chocolate bar -- wrapped in 3 separate papers.
Unless you're into crazy crafting, the M and M minis that come in hard plastic tubes are a huge waste. My niece sent me a whole box of these. After I ate the candy, I peeled the wrapper off the tubes and saved the tubes. I'm still trying to figure out how to use them.
Products sold individually wrapped:
Fig Newtons Snack Packs (Nabisco)
The extra packaging makes these products some of the most wasteful on the shelves. Individual snacks are held in plastic, with additional plastic covering the entire set of snacks. Parents would be doing their kids more of a favor by buying larger boxes of snacks and putting small amounts in reusable containers to bring to school.
"Sunny Delight" 8 pack (Proctor and Gamble)
This wasteful pack consists of eight individual eight fl. oz. bottles shrink-wrapped together. Consumers would be more 'delighted' if Proctor and Gamble lost the unnecessary plastic, and the inflated packaging costs. Consumers pay for the excess packaging: the cost of the 8 pack is $2.59 for 64 fl. oz., while the cost of a regular 64 fl. oz. bottle is only $1.29.
Toxic packaging -- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
3) CVS Brand Carpet Cleaner (22 fl oz.)
Pine Sol Lemonfresh Cleaner and Anti Bacterial Spray (33 fl oz) The Clorox Company
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) creates toxic health hazards throughout its entire life cycle. The production of PVC and its disposal through incineration creates dioxins, among the most dangerous toxins known. Many dioxins are linked to cancer, reproductive and developmental disorders, and immune system damage. In addition to being harmful to public health, the packaging for these two products is also difficult to recycle. In both the above cases, manufacturers use PVC needlessly. For example, Resolve Carpet Cleaner and Lysol Deodorizing Cleaner are sold in HDPE (#2) plastic.
Difficult to Recycle
Hood opaque milk bottles - HP Hood Hood started selling milk in opaque white bottles last year as a marketing ploy. Colored plastic, including white, has to be separated from translucent milk jugs at the recycling collection facility. Colored plastic has fewer post consumer uses and is therefore less lucrative than the traditional translucent milk jug.
No recycled content
Coke soda bottles - Coca-Cola Company
In 1990, the Coca-Cola Company promised to start making soda bottles sold in the United States with 25 percent recycled content. Now, nine years later, despite its "please recycle" message on the bottle, the company has still not lived up to its promise. Coke sells 20 million plastic soda bottles every day in the US. None of them has any recycled plastic.
Lifetime Wastemaker Achievement Awards
Oscar Meyer Lunchables
Small "Lunchable" servings of food are packaged in a segmented plastic tray covered with plastic wrap and an outer cardboard shell. This repeat Wastemaker won this award in both 1990 and 1992. Instead of cutting down on the packaging, they've added a new line of "Pizza Swirls". In addition to being over packaged, two thirds of this product's calories come from fat and sugar.
"Kool Aid Kool Bursts" - Kraft Foods Inc.
A repeat Wastemaker, the packaging for this product accounts for a huge increase in waste, and price, over the traditional "Kool Aid" product. A six pack of plastic bottles, encased in a cardboard holder and plastic shrink-wrap take the place of a single container of drink mix, to which sugar and water are added to produce the same product. More environmentally friendly kids can use reusable containers to carry their "Kool Aid". The cost of "Kool Bursts" for 40.5 fl. oz. is $2.09, while regular "Kool Aid" powder mix, that comes in a single container, costs $3.15 and makes 256 fl. oz. of juice.