In the first of a series of rants(!), I am going to start my packaging discussion with a look at something I received from Natwest yesterday.
Natwest have deemed it necessary to send people a card reader to reduce the threat of identity theft from Internet banking, so through the post I received my own personal card reader. I didn’t ask for this – it was just sent to me. Personally I think internet security is generally down to the individual. If you never give your card details out, shred all your paperwork, keep your computer clean of spyware and viruses and have secure passwords – you will be fine. Anyway I have received the device. I unpackaged it all and below is the packaging that came with it:
Including the device, I counted 9 different items (including the small bit of plastic to keep the batteries unused until opening). Previously I wouldn’t have been too interested in this – everything comes “overpackaged” but I’ve been reading some horrific statistics about packaging – and not just plastic packaging.
A few things to think about – every bit of plastic will survive pretty much forever (eventually down to molecular level but it will still be a plastic polymer or monomer); you may think your own personal packaging doesn’t amount to much but multiply that by several billion and then it becomes a problem; recycling may not be the solution as it just encourages “one way” consumption; there is a mass of plastic several times bigger than the UK in the middle of the Pacific; eventually the plastic will get up the food chain and who knows what will happen to us…
So Natwest is not the problem. The whole system is the problem. I’ve just started reading a book called Cradle to Cradle which hopes to address this issue and wants designers to make products that will be able to be up-cycled (I.e. their use after the initial use is even better than the original) rather than re-cycled where virgin products tend to have to be added to the mix).
For now though we are hopefully getting involved in a new initiative for a plastic bag free Chorlton (jumping on the bandwagon of other towns around the land).
For now though, carry a bag wherever you go (it’s not difficult!), don’t put 2 apples or a carrot in a single bag (why bother?) and refuse bags everywhere (even small ones…); and if you want to read more try Paper or Plastic (don’t buy it – I can lend you it!)