If you´ve been reading this blog for a while, you already know that we don´t like plastic bags or Styrofoam trays at all. Actually, the packaging problem is one that hunts us daily. Either with bread, shampoo, batteries or magazines. Everything we buy is packed with something, paper or plastic, and comes in a bag. And I won´t even mention the bottled water, which is a matter for another post. The fact is a society that is addicted to plastic and all things disposable could only consume everything in packages. Indeed, the unboxing of consumer goods (when bloggers take pictures and post the whole process of opening the box of a new product, showing everything that comes with it) is a fever on the web.
The package´s biggest problem is that it is one use only. It is thrown away or recycled afterwards. This way you have natural resources being, basically, wasted. I am not suggesting that we sell everything without packaging, but some things can be made to reduce the impact.
Before Coca-Cola invented the disposable bottle, we bought the liquid inside the glass bottle (notice the difference), which was returnable. You did not buy a bottle. It belonged to the industry or to the bar. And it was pretty common that people would pay more for the first bottle and afterwards change it in the bar, bakery, supermarket or ATM. This also happened with milk, beans, even with detergent and cleaning products.
But then they decided it was better to sell in a disposable bottle. And, in fact, it was even advertised as a good thing, because from that moment on you would not have to worry about the package. And no one got worried. Today we are up to our necks with plastic, and PET is a big concern.
As I said, it is possible to avoid or reduce the problem. Apple, Natura and other companies have being doing everything they can to reduce its packages for many reasons, including cost. If you look at iPod´s first package and the actual one, they are not at all alike. Natura sells its products in refuel bottles, so that minimum resources are used. When you buy a refuel, you are not only saving money, but also helping Nature.
Another way of avoiding waste is giving priority to reusable packages, as glass. At least, always choose a package that has the recyclable triangle logo and always recycle. Still, even if they are theoretically recyclable, some package types are hard to recycle. Tetra Pak, I´m talking to you. (FYI: its layers are so hardly glued that it´s too complicated to separate, and in many cases, economically unviable).
But this whole post was just an introduction so you could understand the story I am gonna tell. A month ago I bought 3 pairs of rechargeable A-batteries thru Sony´s website. I bought it for my bike’s backlight and my camera, thus reducing the impact of its use, as I would not need to frequently buy new ones.
So I received the package at home. And, as you can see aside, the batteries were REALLY well protected. To pack six simple batteries, which obviously had the risk of breaking in the post-office (actually, who delivered the package was Total), Sony filled up the box, which was not small, with a bunch of Styrofoam pieces (access Quintal´s Flickr to see larger pictures here).
In the end, what´s left is to complain. Who knows, maybe they´ll start paying attention to this issue. I still tried to give the Styrofoam some use, but there was not much I could do with it. If I get an answer from Sony, I´ll post here.
Courtesy picture from Walsh via Flickr.