Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Service of Refills: Do Consumers Have the Time & Money?

Monday, January 28th, 2019

Photo: pinterest.com

I found fault with the hullabaloo over the so called huge benefits to the environment when businesses announced they were banning  plastic straws in the post “Service of the Last Straw,”—literally too little in the plastic litter wars.

I perked up reading Saabira Chaudhuri’s article “The World’s Biggest Brands Want You to Refill Your Orange Juice and Deodorant–P&G, Nestlé and others try to curb plastic waste; Tropicana in glass bottles, Tide in metal cans.”

Chaudhuri reported: “Refillables once dominated industries such as beer and soft drinks but lost out to convenient, affordable single-use containers. In 1947, refillables made up 100% of soft-drink containers by volume and 86% of beer containers, according to the Container Recycling Institute, a nonprofit. By 1998 those figures dropped to 0.4% and 3.3%, respectively.”

She added that the refill business exists but is niche, done by some grocery stores and entrepreneurs largely

Statewide Refillable Bottles Photo: kcts9.org

in shampoo and detergent businesses.

The trial will include PepsiCo’s Tropicana OJ in a glass bottle and Quaker Chocolate Cruesli cereal in stainless steel. Some of P&G’s 10 participating brands include Pantene shampoo in aluminum and Tide in stainless-steel.

In addition, Chaudhuri wrote: “Shoppers who the companies select for the trial will be able to order hundreds of products—including Nestlé’s Häagen-Dazs ice cream and Clorox Co.’s wet wipes—from a website for home delivery. Products arrive in a reusable tote with no extra packaging. Once finished, users schedule a pickup for empty containers to be cleaned and refilled. They can sign up for a subscription-based service that replenishes products once empty containers are returned. TerraCycle will handle delivery, returns and cleaning.

Photo: pinterest.com

“The products will cost roughly the same as the versions in single-use containers, but users will also have to pay a deposit of $1-$10 per container. Shipping charges start at roughly $20, decreasing with every item added.

“Susan Collins, head of the Container Recycling Institute, said high deposit fees could be a barrier to entry for many consumers. ‘It sounds like it’s only meant to attract the most green, virtuous shoppers,’ she said.

I’d add that customers who look for sales are also out of the loop.

“TerraCycle hopes to bring big retailers on board so that customers eventually buy and return most of the products in store or online via retailers, lowering the project’s costs and expanding its reach,” Chaudhuri concluded.

If shoppers don’t have a doorman or house staff or if they aren’t retired, who will accept the packages and what about ice cream sales shipped in summer? Will the shipping and container costs impact the success of these initiatives? Can we go home again, to the middle of last century, when refills in certain product categories were standard? Will a sufficient number of customers, spoiled by taking three seconds to toss out a bottle or container, make the time to wash out each container and prepare the package to ship it back?

Photo: etsy.com

Service of Whatever Happened To….

Monday, September 17th, 2018

Photo: makeuseof.com

 

I just heard from musician Tyler Schuster’s dad, Bill, who updated me on what this enterprising young saxophone player has been up to since he appeared in a post here. It inspired me to also revisit a few other past posts.

Tyler’s music instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Michael Shults, PhD, drafted the original, “Service of Perseverance Set to Music: A Story That Makes My Heart Sing,” in March 2017.

Winning Musician

Tyler Schuster

Shults wrote about Tyler who “pushed harder and smarter when things got tough.” At the end he wrote: “Please join me in congratulating Tyler on his incredible progress and for embodying so many of the ideals we preach in music and any other discipline: toughness, hard work, self awareness, ambition and goal-setting. He’s worked very hard to get where he is and hopefully will have an influence on some future musicians.”

He’s already started. Bill Schuster wrote: “Tyler is student teaching music students grades 6-12 in Bloomer, Wis.  He will be graduating on December 22 with his Music, Instrumental and Music Teaching, Comprehensive Major – Bachelor of Music Education.

“He’s worked very hard and hopefully will have an influence on some future musicians.  He is playing in numerous bands and orchestras, including the Jazz Ensemble, which was named Best Undergraduate College Jazz Band by Downbeat Magazine in 2017 and in 2018, it won best Live Performance.

Schuster added that his son also won the Concerto Competition; the University’s Conducting Competition and was a member of the winning Quartet Competition. “As far as anyone can tell, Tyler is the only person to win all the competitions. He hopes to teach a few years and start his master’s degree in a couple of years.  He has his sights set on teaching at the collegiate level which will be a lot of work, but I’m sure not betting against him.  He loves to be challenged.” We’re rooting for Tyler too!

Commercials That Sound Like Nails on a Blackboard

Photo: Davekraft.org

The annoying giggling female customer in the 1-800-I-Got-Junk radio commercial is gone. I mentioned it in “Service of Irritating and Charming Commercials: Phony and Legitimate Laughs.” I wonder if stations got complaints and lost listeners because of it. Just this morning I heard a new rendition–this time a man giggled. I hear many other repeated commercials but none are as irksome.

The Last Straw

When I wrote “Service of the Last Straw, Bar None,” I couldn’t believe the big deal made over bars and restaurants that banned plastic straws to save the environment.

 I checked Google to see where Styrofoam is banned. I’m not impressed. Listed are: “New York City (and several other cities in New York); Takoma Park, MD.; Seattle, Washington; Washington DC.; Miami Beach, FL; Freeport, Maine; Portland, Maine and Nantucket (City & County), Mass.” And then there are clear plastic containers that hold fruits and veggies and plastic water bottles–have you checked your garbage? I grabbed just a few things in our home on Saturday [photo right]. Get rid of these plastic containers and now you’re talking.

Drip, Drip, Drip

Since I wrote “Service of Leaks” in May, there have been floods, from Omarosa’s book “Unhinged” and those filling the pages of Bob Woodward’s “Fear,” to the experience of the anonymous New York Times Op-Ed writer. What’s normal behavior these days?

I also ask:

  • Do you know other students who have won all the competitions in their track when at first just being good enough to compete in one seemed a stretch?
  • To grab attention, commercials often grate, but don’t you agree some go overboard?
  • Is it unprofitable for packaging companies to research workable alternatives to plastic and to retrofit their machinery accordingly with the goal of saving the environment? Must we be happy with banning straws?
  • Will the world look more kindly on whistleblowers as we become increasingly used to high profile leakers or are we in a phase brought on by the administration?

Photo: tohowater.com

 

 

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