Producing Garbage

Patio SetWe purchased a patio set last month and it was finally delivered on Friday. The set includes a gazebo, a rectangular table with 6 chairs, a loveseat, two chairs and a coffee table and was delivered in 5 large boxes. My brother volunteered to help me assemble the set and we started mid Friday afternoon, worked for a few hours and started again late Saturday morning and finished at 3pm. The total assembly time was approximately 6 hours but the assembly was a snap compared to the cleanup. This included sorting and bagging the various end caps, plastic strapping, styrofoam, plastic bags, hardware bubble packs, French and English assembly instructions, packing slips and foam padding. The garbage filled two regular garbage bags.Garbage I removed packing tape, staples and delivery information sheets from the cardboard boxes, cut them into pieces and tied it all into three manageable bundles ready for recycling pickup. Overall the packing materials filled our mid-sized garbage can and the cardboard will require three trips to the curb on garbage day. An amazing amount of crap for a single patio set and I wonder how many people throw the entire mess into the garbage rather than sorting and packaging. My brother suggested we send all the garbage back to China. Perhaps they’ll ship less garbage to us if we ship it all back.


  1. fred   •  

    Your brother needs to give his head a shake. Think of the environmental implications of shipping all this stuff half way around the world, and back.
    There was a time, not so long ago, when virtually everything we needed was made close to home. If you couldn’t find it in a store, you could find someone to make it for you. Or for that matter, many would simply make it themselves.
    What happened?
    Another point is that not so long ago, when you bought a product, it came assembled. Now the most difficult part of the production process is passed on the purchaser. An ingenious con on the part of the manufacturer / marketer.
    The fact that you are left with a huge pile of packaging to get rid of is a small part of the problem. A bigger part is that within a few short years, you will be trying to figure out how to get rid of all that tired, dirty worn ourt and broken crappy patio furniture from China.

  2. Jon   •  

    We’ve been sending our recyclables to China for years. It’s preferable to deadheading shipping containers back across the Pacific. The richest woman in China, Zhang Yin, made her billions recycling American paper.

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