A Moving Box for My Face?

My mother uses Lancome for skin and make-up. I use Lancome. I sense Lancome knows that brand inheritance helps build brand loyalty. They also make very nice products, which helps. But Lancome is about to lose me as a customer.

I decided to order a few things online last week and they arrived yesterday. Products that weigh less than a pound packaged in glass, packaged in plastic, packaged in a fancy box, in a plastic bag, in another box, wrapped in paper and sent in a moving box. I actually blushed when I picked it up at the post office.

This mountain of packaging in an era of over-consumption and waste prompted me to go online and try to find out something about the Lancome company and philosophy. But there is nothing about what is actually in their products and nothing about a company commitment to anything beyond sales. Lancome might have great skin care, but they have shameful packaging and shameful transparency. Lancome should become a more conscientious company if it really hopes to hold on to the customers of the next generation.

i-fbd432e106fe0b8ed376d100e4af9a1b-Lancome.jpg
A moving box? Really?

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Welcome to the dark side, and mostly ignored aspect of online shopping.

The packaging waste stream generated through online consumption is phenomenal. What also really concerns me is that there is still such a small recycling percentage with average consumers, and now with online shopping, consumers are being inundated with even more packaging to deal with. I have not followed this much, but more evolved packaging material was discussed in the book Cradle to Cradle. For example, packaging materials would be created/designed with a secondary use in mind and could then be used as agricultural fertilizers.

While I love this concept, there is still a huge discord in the educational outreach to actually manifest more participation of recycling among consumers. While we have culturally been talking about recycling for years, the actual public participation with recycling is nowhere near what it should be. I was contemplating putting together a photo gallery of âstuffâ that could be recycled, but never makes it to the recycling stream. I am always amazed when I look into public rubbish containers and see such a high percentage of waste products that should be recycled. I have been working out how to use the photos not for public awareness, but for corporate awareness, as in why are corporations not more involved in spending a small percentage of their profits in the education of their consumers through their advertising.

While I always appreciate hoping for easier solutions such as what is being talked about in Cradle to Cradle, it seems that we still have to deal with the immediacy of our current public consumer participation with the waste stream that is seriously out of control. Yes, product companies should be much more closely involved in their shipping material consciousness as part of their bottom line of doing business model, but aside from boycotting them as consumers, are there any other ways we can reach them as consumers?

Cradle to cradle: http://www.mcdonough.com/cradle_to_cradle.htm

By Chris Martell (not verified) on 26 Nov 2009 #permalink

That's pretty bad but, on the other hand, the cardboard and plastic boxes can be used to wrap packages for postal delivery or presents. The plastic boxes shuttle around for years as packing for gifts and, if you can find a appropriate bin, are recycled. The paper can be used as a wrapper, reused as packing, or, after all other practical use, composted. If you have pets both the paper and cardboard can be cage lining and bedding before being composted. The plastic bag goes with the other plastic bags and goes to the plastic bag bin at the grocery store for reuse in plastic fortified lumber that lasts longer than pressure treated softwood.

So yes, it is bad. But it doesn't have to be a disaster. Depends on how it is handled. The plastics are the biggest problem IMO. Hard to find places that take the hard plastics that really need to be sorted. Then again most of the plastics used in consumer products are doing jobs that might better be handled with wood (bamboo?), a wood product (paper or cardboard), or metal. All of which could be reused, but ultimately recycled or composted. Something to move toward.

But, in the mean time, keeping priorities straight, Happy Thanksgiving. Get yourself stuffed.

Since we are heading into the holiday season where we generate so much extra paper and cardboard gift wrapping, here is an idea to go really green. Over ten years ago, I boycotted traditional wrapping paper and boxes and wrapped all christmas gifts in banana leaves. It was great, everyone thought I was a freak and could not really understand why I just could not be normal and use up lots of paper and cardboard like everyone else. I just reminded them that all of their banana plant wrapping waste could go directly into their garden compost...

Of course, this idea will not work well in places where bananas do not grow, but I am sure that there are plenty of other waste free alternatives for all of us clever eco-monkeys out there. Another wrapping free packaging option is giving gifts that need no wrapping. Tickets to the Opera. A facial or body therapy session. A skiing pass. Tickets to the local Aquarium. The list is endless for packaging free gifting, that helps keep the landfill from being overdosed.

Waste Free Holidays ( http://www.wastefreeholidays.com/ ) was a program being promoted in Seattle that encouraged such alternate gift giving, but unfortunately budget cuts have cancelled government sponsorship this year....

Just a thought here while I am musing about banana leaf dreams, and since our governments are facing severe cut backs in their educational budgets, but the idea of waste stream consciousness still needs to get through to the general public. How about if all schools take their students on mandatory field trips to the nearest landfills and see first hand where all the waste goes, and how much actually goes there. I would bet more than a few bunches of bananas that this sort of first hand, non classroom, experience would open up some eyes and alter some minds. After all, most people have no idea where their garbage really goes...

By Chris Martell (not verified) on 26 Nov 2009 #permalink

Since this post is about being aware and creative with our waste stream: This years most innovative recycled green christmas tree...

http://i.imgur.com/GGtXC.jpg

Maybe there is hope after all!

By Chris Martell (not verified) on 28 Nov 2009 #permalink

That doesn't look particularly excessive to me. I've packed and shipped a number of expensive glass items (ebay, you know). So far I have had to buy very little packing supplies. Friends give us packing material, and we reuse packing from things we buy. Supplies are getting a bit low and I hope I do not have to buy bubble wrap peanuts, etc. As compared to free, they are quite expensive.

By Jim Thomerson (not verified) on 28 Nov 2009 #permalink

Maybe if you stopped slathering goop all over your face you wouldn't be consuming so much paper and plastic.

Juice, you're obviously trolling (just as you did with reference to the trees)

run along and be a good little boy

By Eric, the half a bee (not verified) on 07 Dec 2009 #permalink

My mother had beautiful skin into her 90's. She used soap she made out of hog lard and wood ashes. She also collected rainwater to use washing her face and hair.

By Jim Thomerson (not verified) on 08 Dec 2009 #permalink

Good Day,
My name is Jim Cole and i will like to order 18âx14âx12 Box,So i would like you to respond back to me with the total cost on 2,500pcs without shipping charges and also let me know the form of payment you do accept.
Thank you and hope to hear from you soon
Best Regards
Jim Cole