Excess Packaging

Excess packaging


June 3, 2015

I bought a lovely product the other day, Toni & Guy Nourish Reconstruction Mask. It smells real good. And it works. As a blonde ‘horsey’ girl (the term girl is a bit flattering I know, but hey, I am the one writing this blog) ‘hat hair’ is a daily challenge but I’m glad to say I’ve found a product that I can highly recommend for this problem if you need it.

When I got my lovely product home I thought to myself “What a beautiful box”. I then commented to my husband “What a beautiful box” and then placed said beautiful box in the appropriate recycling receptacle.

The beautiful box was a beautiful box for minutes only and served no real purpose and added no real value to the product itself.

For a long time I have had concerns around the amount of packaging that we consume and whether the volume is necessary? According to Stanford University we discard our own weight in packaging every 30 – 40 days.

We all know how important recycling is and we are all conditioned to put our glass in this bin, our paper in this tub and onto the next, which is all wonderful and probably highlights further the sheer amount of recycling that needs to be done on a daily basis.

Does there really need to be such a large amount of unnecessary packaging though? What’s the deal here? As the Marketing Director of a creative agency who designs (beautiful) packaging from time to time, it might sound odd to be posing this question, but we are all conditioned to be responsible and reduce waste and the scale of it all feels to me just, wrong.

The law requires that packaging should be restricted to “the minimum amount to maintain necessary levels of safety, hygiene and acceptance” for the consumer, however trading standards officers and council leaders have warned the regulations are unenforceable.

An example of a get-out clause is where chocolate manufacturers insisted children expect Easter eggs to come in large, brightly coloured boxes much bigger than the confectionary inside.

Food for thought.

It’s great that we recycle, but isn’t it even better if we reduce the recycling itself by buying less packaging?

What’s to be done? Should the movement come from the consumer? Or should the retailers be the Reduce Excess Package Champions? (Definitely needs a punchier strapline, I will give this some further thought). Big nod to Amazon who have a ‘Rate Amazon’s Packaging’ questionnaire which I score as ‘About right’.

Consumers are great campaign advocates – think PETA, 5-A-Day, Lion Mark, Red Tractor. Is there a case for an awareness campaign that makes the consumer think about the amount of excess packaging that they are paying for, and then discarding?

I, for one am going to start thinking about this issue from now on with each and every purchase I make. Every little helps and all that.

by Sarah Cataldo

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