Monday, 3 August 2009

Laugh, cry, your choice

As householders we can do our bit to cut down out own waste, and we can try and buy items that are intelligently packaged. However, sometimes you have to order things online or otherwise remotely, and not only do you not have a choice about the item's packaging, you also don't get much say in how it's sent to you. There's usually cardboard, polythene, polystyrene, and possibly lots of plastic clippy things or twist ties.

Sometimes you can sort of see the need. No-one wants a broken laptop delivered to them. Recently we needed a printer, and bought a Canon one which was very efficiently packaged with lots of cardboard (less polystyrene) and lots of ingenious tucking of wires and manuals and things into gaps.

But think for a moment. Even if you don't buy very much stuff at all, even if you are determined to exist without unnecessary gadgetry, and get things from Freecycle when you do need them, the fact remains that you still deal with lots of organisations, from banks to shops to online providers like Google. And they all have IT infrastructure, and are presumably almost constantly upgrading and repairing and keeping things going, ordering kit as they need it.

And it looks like the companies that supply these organisations (big names, like HP and Dell), are creating more than enough idiotic and unnecessary packaging waste for the rest of us!

Who makes these decisions? Who looks at 2 A4 sheets of paper, puts them in a foam-lined cardboard box, and then puts that in with 15 other boxes (same contents) into another, bigger box to send to the customer, and thinks it's a good idea? Have these people not heard of envelopes?

And is anyone receiving this idiocy going to say anything to the supplier? I'd like to be proved wrong, but I say probably not. How on earth can we combat this sort of thing?

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