March 19, 2013

Call those toll free numbers

Recently, the packaging of my brand of oatmeal changed: it went from a soft plastic bag with a #4 recycling symbol to a bag made from a crinkly type of material labelled with the #7 recycling symbol.  Alas, #7 plastics are a catch-all class of materials that don’t fit the other categories; they are for all practical purposes unsortable and unrecyclable.  Trash, hidden behind a recycling symbol.  (More on that here.)

Well, like most consumer products, my oatmeal bag had a toll-free consumer hotline – so I called it and to inquire why a company would change from recyclable to a non-recyclable packaging.  The person on the other end promised to forward my concern to the engineering department.

Alas, my oatmeal still comes in a #7 bag.  But if enough consumers called that toll-free line to question the packaging, I know the folks in the engineering department – and the boardroom – would take note.

Gandhi said, “We must be the change we seek in the world.”  Here’s a simple way you can Be The Change: if you come across packaging that is labelled as a #7 plastic or that is an unrecyclable mix of materials (there’s plenty of it out there), why not call that toll-free number and make your concerns known?  Enough calls = action and positive change!


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