Monday, July 13, 2009

It's a shame we can't harness the power of blame

Councils blame supermarkets for £1.8bn cost of excess packaging

I hold no candle for the supermarkets (lord knows, they have not made my, or's life very easy with their arrogant, money-grubbing ways), but 'they' seem to have become a very convenient whipping entity for failings across the whole system, from the time a product's raw materials are dug up from to when they are returned to the ground.

At the end of the day, as it is with 99.99999% of life, it is about money. Spend the least you get get away with, and make the most. From the individual to the corporation to the establishment.

All complicated by 'systems' that have evolved over decades if not centuries, and which only now are being required to make radical adjustments. And as most will appreciate, with complex systems a tweak here can have 'consequences' there.

It's interesting to ponder what a supermarket publishing the amount of packaging they produce will do to help me with my decisions. Or what goes in my bin. The stuff is either necessary, or it is not. And seemingly ignores the brands whose products sit upon those shelves too. Not all in my basket is own label.

It seems quite simple, and that is an attempt to push costs from one place to another. But at the end of the day if it goes from my rate demand to my shopping bill the same person ends up paying.

Now, if there is a way for me to influence what I pay downwards via decisions based on packaging impositions then I can see a glimmer of an end-benefit and hence value. But until there is a properly coordinated cradle to grave packaging materials creation/disposal system this mostly smacks of box-ticking and target-meeting to help public servants in LAs and quangos drive bonuses their way.

For something that costs the consuming public nothing, and then goes on to save both pocket and planet in a small way, may I commend to those who would like to do something proactive as others bicker.

It even offers rewards with a competition for neat reuse ideas on plastic at the moment!

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