I just bought the new Neil Young CD, Prairie Wind. It's Neil in a contemplative mood, largely acoustic and folksy. I've never been a fan of speed-metal Neil, but I like his country-rock, folk-rock work a lot. He's a terrific songwriter and musician as well as an interesting, committed person.
But what impresses me most is the packaging. With the exception of the shrink-wrap there's no plastic whatsoever. The case is cardboard, folded once with a sleeve and the CD and booklet are tucked into the sleeve. Why can't all CDs be packged that way? Everyone has CD-sized racks now (both at retail and at home) that will keep the CD protected, so the plastic is unnecessary for protection. The jewel box is replaced by the simple but sturdy cardboard, and the sleeve serves the purpose of the common plastic insert. Better yet, it's not likely to snap like those little prongs on the insert that hold the CD in place often do, and the box itself won't break at the hinges like jewel cases do.
If we want to reduce our consumption of petroluem products, rethinking packaging standards in ways like this is a good place to start (along with making more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, of course).