Monday, November 2, 2009

WHY?

Bleatings from EnviRambo.




In an effort to clear my computer and my head this post is a collection of pictures I have taken over the past two years that make me ask, "Why?"

This is a collection of random crap that my husband came home with from the chiropractor. It was all neatly contained in the small logo-emblazoned plastic bag shown in the middle-right of the picture. Why? Along the same lines, my dentist gives away the same logo-emblazoned (albeit a different logo) plastic bag containing a toothbrush, sampled-size floss, and sample-size toothpaste. Why? I used to obligingly accept the plastic package and all its plastic contents. The toothbrushes were used for cleaning, we made use of the floss, and the toothpaste went in a drawer never to see the light of day again. I now have a toothbrush for every grout line in my kitchen, a plethora of little floss containers that fall out of the medicine cabinet every time I open it, and a stock pile of toothpaste that will never be used. Why? It took me a year to realize I could decline these parting gifts. Why?



These three pictures illustrate a major pet peeve of mine - shipping packaging. In particular, unnecessary air bags. The top picture is a sweatshirt I ordered for my brother. Does a sweatshirt really need air bag protection? It is hardly fragile. Or, such a large box? To make matters worse, this is an order I specifically requested "no plastic in packaging, please". Somehow that translated to grab an enormous box and stuff it with as many plastic air bags as possible. Oh, and do not forget to wrap the sweatshirt in plastic before you do so. Thank you very much. Why? The middle picture is an order of Seventh Generation laundry soap from Amazon. Umm... yeah. Again, last I knew plastic was not fragile. Why? Why not skip the second box, slap an Amazon sticker on the Seventh Generation box, and send it on its merry way? No need for unnecessary plastic air bags. Arghhh! The bottom picture is another Amazon order. This time spaghetti. Okay, so spaghetti is a bit fragile, but it is so tightly packed in its original box that it is not going to move much less break. Did you see the size of the box Amazon shipped it in? And, the mountain of air bags to fill the unnecessarily large box? Why? Another situation where a Amazon sticker would have sufficed. Why? Why? Why?


I know I am not alone on this one. Organic food in plastic packaging. Why? Produce in any packaging! Why? I could go on forever about this one, but the fact that I purchased these items this way upsets me more than the packaging itself. Why?




These three pictures are compliments of my husband and his "vacation" overseas. The top is his daily breakfast and all the trash it created. 16 pieces of garbage - 17 if you count the banana, since I am pretty sure the military does not compost - all for one man's breakfast. Why? Sadly, this is reminiscent of our children's school-offered lunch. Way too much disposables! At least the military uses real silverware, the school does not. Yep, plastic disposable cutlery. I cannot believe our tax dollars pay for this. Why? The middle picture is just one of many water stations where thousands of plastic water bottles are distributed to the troops. Thousands daily. Why? The bottom picture is of course the result of the water stations. Tons of trash. That is not a recycle bin - it is a trash can. Why? I think Klean Kanteen needs to strike a deal with the military. Hey, why not?

What makes you ask, "Why?"

16 comments:

Eco Yogini said...

ugh I have moments all the time. I probably would have emailed Seventh Generation... emailing has become par for the course it would seem.
blegh packaging.
I have heard of consumers speaking up at grocery stores about packaging and policies changing as a result. don't know how often this would happen- but I've spoken up at a few places...

Green Bean said...

Shaking head . . . WHY!??!

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

You have hit on so many of my pet peeves!

Kellie said...

Hee hee - I have a few of these photos on my hard drive as well. Big pet peeve!

Elizabeth B said...

Ugh. Way too much plastic. However, I believe the air bags were used to make sure items wouldn't shift during shipping (IIRC, the USPS doesn't like things to shift around). In addition, boxes that don't have padding are much more likely to be crushed in transit.

With that said, the sweatshirt could have just gone in a padded mailer. For heaven's sake.

At least Amazon seems to be listening somewhat; I recently ordered a book that came wrapped in cardboard rather than in a big box with air bags.

Rosa said...

I buy the "Wholesome" brand brown sugar anyway, because it's free trade. I think the plastic bags for the fair trade sugars & dried fruits are because they are so much more expensive (and probably shipped farther) than the non-organic non-free trade ones - my old roomate used to work in a sugar factory and they accept a certain level of loss (to spills, accidents, what comes out of the machine and gets all over worker's clothes, and what gets wet in transit) to their paper-bagged sugar because their product is so cheap.

I buy the cheapest white sugar - non-cane generic - because it's from North Dakota, and processed in the Midwest usually. I buy the expensive fair trade brown sugar because it's imported from somewhere they grow cane.

Oldnovice said...

I hear ya, sister.

Bec said...

I know what you are talking about. My local supermarket has recently started stocking a small amount of fresh organic produce, but everything is wrapped in tons of plastic, even each single head of broccoli has its own plastic packaging. It's organic for goodness sake, it just makes no sense. I'm sure most people who buy organic would NOT want the plastic.

Daisy said...

I keep telling myself - it could be worse. At least with the plastic air pillows, I can cut them down and they'll take up less space in the landfill. Better yet, I can reuse them to wrap books to mail for paperbackswap.
But seriously, Amazon really likes to see its logo on boxes. Lotsa boxes. What a waste.

jimmycrackedcorn said...

These things make me ask "why?"

1. Why does my child's lunch pudding come in a tiny plastic cup with a lid, which is then set into one of the compartments on his cafeteria lunch plate? On the same day that they put applesauce directly onto the plate? Is pudding THAT much harder to wash off?

2. Same question, different food. Why does my child's school lunch spaghetti come in a styrofoam tray, which is placed onto a divided lunch tray? Why?

3. Why does this blog's subtitle specifically say that based on my gender I shouldn't be reading here, let alone posting here?

Melinda said...

LOL, I also collect such photos! Argh. Great point that it is doubly maddening when we discover them in our own houses - that we have contributed by buying them!

Next question: WHAT NOW?

Neil Moran said...

I confess I didn't realize what a problem this was until I read a story in Rolling Stone magazine recently about that big swirl of plastic out in the Pacific. Shame on us! I'm going to start caring my shopping bag into the store. Thanks for the awareness of this problem.

Condo Blues said...

My understanding is that they sell conventional produce unwrapped because it has a protective wax on it to keep it fresh from the field to the store. What that wax is I don't know. I'm a little afraid to find out. Organic produce doesn't have the light wax coating to keep it fresh that's why they wrap it in plastic. Freshness may not be an issue if you live in a place that has year round growing seasons/farm markets. For these of us who have winter and have to rely on out of state produce, it poses a problem either way you look at it :(

Bec said...

Thanks for that info Condo Blues. I didn't know that. A lot of produce here has to come from interstate also. Definately something to think about.

greeen sheeep said...

@ jimmycrackedcorn - I cannot answer your first two questions, they completely befuddle me. #3 however - We welcome all eco-heroes regardless of sex, age, race, religion.... cape and tights optional. Glad to have you!

Elizabeth B said...

Ooh, I forgot about this. Amazon actually lets you leave feedback about packaging. It's on the "Your Account" page under "Orders." Go get 'em, girl! ;)

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