Dear producer of products,
re: your product and its container (the plastic one, the funny shaped one, the one with ‘shoulders’, the one with a very narrow neck, the one with a fixed lid through which your product is squeezed/ /squirted/poured)
I would like to give you a little background to my missive; I was brought up not to waste anything as far as was possible. At that time it was for economic reasons but also the fact that it was literally by the definition of the word waste – ‘expending carelessly, extravagantly, or for no purpose’. In our modern world there is another consideration – disposal of waste, the health and welfare of our planet and the effects of waste disposal on the non-human inhabitants, animal and vegetable, terrestrial,.marine and aeriel.
To come to the point of my communication: when I have finished the product within the container, peanut butter, body lotion, yoghurt, make-up, whatever it is, I try to make sure the said container is absolutely empty. I don’t mean necessarily clean – I mean that I have used all of the product I have paid for. However, too often you have made a container which denies me access to what is now my product as I bought it from you.
An example: I have a tall, slim, plastic container of moisturiser; the lotion comes through a small hole in the top, but when no more comes out, even when I shake the contents down as much as I can, I know there is more of my product inside. I prise off the lid and I can manage to get my little finger in and access a little finger’s length of product. My solution now, to get to the rest of the moisturiser, is to cut the plastic container in half. There is enough ‘cream’ stuck to the sides of the plastic to last me another four days – and that’s applying it very generously! If, like most people, I had just thrown it away as soon as it seemed empty, not only would I be wasting my money, but I would be wasting a resource. You could give me an accessible container and charge me less!
Another example: we like peanut butter in our family. We try and buy glass rather than plastic containers even though they are more expensive, but they aren’t always in the shops we go to. So imagine my annoyance that the plastic jar I do buy is designed with ‘shoulders’ which trap the peanut butter; I’ve paid for that peanut butter, why can’t I get at it? The bottom of the ‘sides of jar has a ridge and below that the jar flares out – no doubt an attractive shape, but how can I get at my peanut butter? This might sound a trivial thing but how many more slices of bread or toast could I ‘butter’ if the jar was better designed? I’ll tell you… three… how do I know? Because I got the bread knife and sawed the plastic jar in half.
I know this all sounds very silly… but supposing we as a family get through a jar of peanut butter a week, or supposing I use a container of moisturiser a month… I am throwing away, 1,460 slices of bread/toast worth of peanut butter, and 48 days worth of moisturiser – which is a whole ‘bottle’ and a half of your expensive product.
I won’t even bother to give you my thoughts on face moisturiser in jars with double walls, so what you think you are buying is more than what you actually buy, or make up in strange shaped rigid tubes and bottles.
Nobody likes throwing away money – and yet I guess most people do without a second thought, just because they just can’t get at the product they have bought from you.
As a friend from Yorkshire says – think on!
PS According to the Australian Food Standards Agency:
- peanut butter thinly spread 5g
- peanut butter normally spread 10g
- peanut butter thickly spread 17g
So by not scraping a jar I might throw away :
- peanut butter thinly spread – 7.3 kilos
- peanut butter normally spread 10g – 14.6 kilos
- peanut butter thickly spread 17g – 24.82 kilos
Whichever way you look at it, that is a heck of a lot of peanut butter!