The Story of Stuff and Reusables: Working to Close the Loop

Is it the best time of the year to talk about over-consumption, or amidst the scurrying to do just that, is it the worst? In her 2010 book, Anne Leonard’s book expands upon her 21 minute video, The Story of Stuff.

This is a relatively simple story, as told by the video (and I haven’t read all of the book), so there are inevitably points that would be more fairly treated by a more complete explanation.

Basically, the Story of Stuff is one more plea for common sense in consumption, and to recognize that we cannot live sustainably in a world where there is a linear production and consumption model from resource extraction to disposal. The loop must be closed, if we are to live sustainably. This is no mystery to anyone in the business of reusables, where this is done each and every day.

However, as people in the reusable business also know, changing behavior is no small mission, but paradoxically involving countless small missions – countless small conversations, and countless subtle acts of sanity. And that’s how momentum swings.

Reusable packaging can stand tall as a model of how organizations and people can work together to achieve that goal. Do reusables have a bigger role to play? Let me know what you think.

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