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Blog item: Would You Email a Complaint About Extra Packaging If It Was REALLY easy?

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5 comments, last: Jul-27-2009   Add a comment   Author:  PT (Jul-23-2009)
Categories: Philosophical & Quality of Life, Pollution

If I wrote a Web page (along with the needed programming behind it) that let you contact various food, toy, houseware, and other product suppliers, and made it easy to have an email sent to them that asks them to PLEASE stop using so much useless packaging (and/or to use compostable plastic-replacement types of packaging), would you use that program? Would you tell your friends about it as well?

Imagine coming home after buying a few necessities, and feeling sick once again with all the wasteful packaging, especially plastic packaging.  Would you love to tell someone at the company that made such products about how you feel?

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Comment by:  Wavehunter (William Coffin) (Jul-27-2009)   Web site
Sounds very good. I would suggest allowing the user to edit the whole message before sending. You may get the odd person sending something totally inappropriate, but mostly it will mean we can use our own favourite words and phrases for a personal touch.

Sliced cheese with plastic between each slice is one of the things I hate most in packaging. And expanded polystyrene: my local recycling centre will recycle many plastics, but not expanded polystyrene or (for some reason) Yakult bottles.

Oh, and I must mention plastic drinking straws. I refuse them in restaurants whenever I remember, but far too often I'm given one automatically. 99% of us can drink from a glass, can or bottle without the help of a straw. As far as I'm concerned, they're a pointless waste of oil and money!
Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Jul-26-2009)   Web site

Yes, you do "get it". In fact, I would likely have a few questions, as you suggested, to help complete the email. For example, the intent of the email could be 1) provide the same item without packaging, 2) provide the same item with less packaging, or 3) provide the same item with compostable or recycled packaging. Perhaps there would also be a "4) Other" option to fill in one's own wording.

Another question would be the name of the product, with model number as appropriate, and what part of the world it was seen in or purchased from.

I think that should work! The rest is getting people to realize how outrageous the current frivolous waste and pollution is. We could reduce those at least 50% by simple conscious decision making regarding design, production, and distribution without hurting or restricting anyone.
Comment by:  Wavehunter (William Coffin) (Jul-26-2009)   Web site

I get it, I think. The website would have proforma messages about excess packaging. We would then use the website to send messages to the email address we enter, which we would find on the packaging. Is that right?

Would the website remember the email addresses we entered? Would we be able to amend the emails? Perhaps following a short questionnaire the site will create the most appropriate message?

The short answer to your original question, however, is "yes", I would use it if it was appropriate for my purchases.
Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Jul-25-2009)   Web site

You would supply an email address (I think for this kind of activity it would be as effective as traditional letters). You would supply the appropriate email address. I could provide letters in English and Spanish fairly easily. Most readers are in the USA, with others in Canada, UK, and Australia, and fewer in Mexico, eastern Europe, and other countries.
Comment by:  Wavehunter (William Coffin) (Jul-25-2009)   Web site

It sounds like a good idea. I have to admit that more than once I've thought I should write to company x, y or z and tell them what I think, but then other tasks get in the way and it never gets done.

A possible drawback of your idea, at least as it affects me, is that it may by necessity be US specific. I live in Mexico and many of the products here are completely different. Even if they are similar (we have Heinz ketchup, for example, French's mustard and Whiskas catfood) the address here will be the company's offices in Mexico where relaciones de cliente will expect to be contacted in Spanish (or at least Spanglish, which is all I manage most of the time).

How difficult would it be to make it international? Or what proportion of your visitors are from the United States?

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About author/contributor Member: PT (David Alexander) PT (David Alexander)
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Member: PT (David Alexander) My lifelong pursuit, since age 18, has been to live more fully and find wisdom. This has involved studies with Zen masters, Tai Chi masters, and great psychotherapists while achieving my license as a gestalt therapist and psychoanalyst.

Along the way, I became aware of how the planet is under great stress due to the driven nature of human activity on this planet.

I believe that the advancement of human well-being will reduce societies addictive behaviors, and will thus also help preserve the environment and perhaps slow down the effects of global warming and other major threats to the health of human societies.

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