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CCFB News» April 2019

Ag Lit BitWhat a Waste

04/01/2019 @ 11:45 am | By Diane Merrion

I don’t order a lot online because when I do, there’s usually some crazy problem or it takes forever to get to me.  Case in point was a sticker I ordered as a stocking stuffer that took 8 weeks to arrive (which was well after Christmas).  I’ll take the blame as I didn’t notice it was being sent from halfway around the world. 


My latest purchase was a Cubs Custom Shirt that I didn’t notice takes about three weeks…which will be one week after my sister’s birthday event. 


I did, however, have a successful delivery last week when a store I visited didn’t have my item in stock. They offered to order it online and have it shipped to me free. How can you pass that up?  A few days later, I came home to see a box on my porch, certain it couldn’t be that item. It was! 


As you can see by the photo, it made no sense to me at all. One of the reasons this situation stuck with me so much was that my mind had been on Earth Day which falls on April 22nd.  As I reflect on how to share Earth Day lessons with educators and how to reduce, reuse and recycle, I was staring at this huge box and wondering how many of these boxes make it back into recycling bins.  With the explosion of e-commerce, my little example is clearly no reflection on the scope of the situation. 


As an agriculture educator, Earth Day lessons typically revolve around soil health, best management practices being used by farmers, feeding a growing population with less land, pollinators and a host of other topics.  Oversized boxes aren’t usually a part of the conversation, but trees are certainly a part of it. Also, a part of it are the ways agriculture is contributing to efforts to be better stewards of the land.


Agriculture continues to use science and technology to improve their impact and to create renewable resources such as corn and soy-based products including many soybean car parts, corn starch packing peanuts and wheat-based food service items. Earth Day is a good reminder to consider how every decision we make impacts many things beyond that choice. I feel bad about the waste of a tree with that box, but know it will go into our recycling bin and am left to wonder how many other boxes never make it that far.  

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