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Pocket-Size Pouch Reduces Plastic Trash in Europe

ONE excellent example of source-reduced packaging is the fabric softener Lenor, which caught on first in West Germany and is now sold by Procter & Gamble (P&G) throughout Europe. The concentrate comes in a small plastic pouch. Consumers pour it into a bottle they already have and add water. The pouch uses 85 percent less material than the package it replaces, according to P&G's Ed Fox. Lenor isn't available in America, he says, because it's still being market-tested. It will take time to catch on, he says, ``because Americans aren't as concerned about solid waste as the Europeans.'' Jeanne Wirka of Environmental Action, an education and advocacy group in Washington, says Lenor is ``the perfect concept of source reduction,'' and it's up to the manufacturer to promote it. ``People want to make shopping decisions that are good.... If Americans aren't as far along as West Germans in that sense, then let's all work together to get there.''

Wirka wants the packaging industry - which created the ``disposable mentality'' through endless marketing of throwaway containers - to create a ``source reduction mentality'' in the same way, making ``environmentally safe,'' ``recycled,'' and ``reduced packaging'' just as trendy as ``low cholesterol'' and ``convenient.''

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