Thursday, May 05, 2005

Excessive Packaging

The environmentalists are always whining about "excessive packaging", yet its difficult to define what that actually means. I think its very subjective, and depending upon how looney the person you're dealing with, any packaging could be excessive. I have finally identified an definition of excessive packaging I can embrace.

I've gone to Home Depot a couple times over the last week, and have noticed that a bunch of their stuff is in blister packs. Take for instance a shower head that is sealed in a form fitting plastic containier. To open the blister pack, you must cut the plastic, this destroying the package. Unfortunately, Home Depot has such a high return rate, the most of the blister packs have been opened (thus cut / destoyed), then taped back together, and restocked on the shelf.

What a mess! What's wrong with putting the thing in a box? If the box is returned and retaped, its not as obvious, but when its in a blister pack, it just can't be repackaged.

Furthermore, the box is biodegradable. The plastic is not. Sure blister packs are made of PET (a type of plastic), which is recylable, but nobody recycles blister packs. As a matter of fact, most people don't even recycle their PET water and soda bottles.

Home Depot is large enough that they should take a stand and refuse blister packing, thus forcing manufacturers to shift to a better method. Home Depot could claim they were being envirnmentally friendly, but they would be saving money on the returns desk. They would argue against this by saying that a blister pack take less shelf space than a box. The reality is that customers won't buy opened blister packs, as they assume the product is defective or missing parts, thus they are actually wasting shelf space with product that won't move.

Just for the record, I don't like plastic bottles either.

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