This is where the overpackers get a chance to explain themselves, we contact each manufacturer we feature on this site about the products we have featured. Responses can be seen below:
STATUS: Enquiry Sent
Letter to Cadbury’s sent 05/05/07
I am writing to you with regards to the overpackaging of your Easter Eggs. I run the website www.overpackaging.com and have featured your Flake Easter egg on the site. It is unnecessary to have such a large box, with extensive plastic packaging inside, even a completely pointless box for the flakes to go in!
I am aware that it is important to make your eggs stand out against competition in the run up to Easter but this is too excessive, and is very rapidly becoming a reason for large numbers of consumers NOT to buy such products. It is possible to make your packaging more environmentally whilst still being attractive. A good example of this is Divine Chocolate whose eggs are held in place in their display boxes by two pieces of cardboard rather than a whole plastic frame inside the box as Cadbury’s do.
Could you tell me what you are looking to do in the future with your packaging and if you have any plans to use less wasteful and more environmentally friendly packaging?
I look forward to your response.
RESPONSE: No response.
Marks & Spencer
STATUS: Response received
Letter to M&S sent 23/04/06
I am sure you are aware of the problem of manufacturers unnecessarily overpackaging their products and would be disappointed to know that Marks and Spencer products are being overpackaged. It has been brought to our attention that some of your products are being hideously overpackaged, if you care to look at http://www.overpackaging.com/Pictures.htm#captial%20one you will see one of your shirts complete with all of its twelve separate items of packaging. We believe that this is completely unnecessary, but before condemning you on the Overpackaging.com website we would be delighted to hear your point of view on the matter and give you the opportunity to put your reasons forward to our readers.”
Thank you very much for writing to us. You can be sure that our company shares your concern about the environment, and it is helpful to us to have your own perspective on this vitally important issue.
We do try to support the environment by recycling any waste where possible. Along with other companies, we pay an annual levy based on the amount of packaging we use to fund improvements in national recycling. The aim is to recycle 64% of packaging in the UK. We also sponsor a number of recycling initiatives such as RECOUP (the national group for recycling plastic) and the Community Recycling Network.
As a company, we need to use packaging to protect our products whilst they are being transported, warehoused and displayed in store. Packaging also has to make the item look attractive. However, in 1969 we were the first UK retailer to introduce waste saving re usable packaging systems for transporting food between our suppliers and stores. This saved around 25,000 tonnes of cardboard a year and has been built on ever since. In the early nineties, we introduced the same system for clothing and later cut flowers.
We are constantly aware of our impact on our environment and operate a wide range of recycling schemes within M&S. This includes recycling nearly 60 million coat hangers as well as paper, cardboard, some types of plastic, toner cartridges and uniforms I do hope this helps to explain the seriousness with which our company views its responsibilities and the contributions we’re making to a better environment.
Whilst M&S do have a good reputation for the environment they clearly haven’t applied these policies to their shirts, which don’t need twelve items of packaging.
STATUS: Response received, action promised, non taken.
Letter to Wrigley’s sent 27/04/06
I am writing to you with regard to your new “Airwaves Active” brand of chewing gum and its excessive use of packaging. Whilst I am aware of marketing needs and protective packaging for your products, this particular one it is clear that this item has gone to far, is such a large no degradable packet really needed for ten small pieces of chewing gum?
Airwaves Active have been featured on our site at http://www.overpackaging.com/Pictures.htm and I would appreciate it if you could respond to this enquiry and put forward your side of the argument, which we will gladly feature on the site.”
A further email was sent on 25/05/06
I sent an email to your customer affairs department on 27/04/06 and I have not yet received a response. The email I sent is below. You are under no obligation to reply to this email but your lack of response is noted on http://www.overpackaging.com/letters.htm it is then up to readers of the site, to read into this what they want.
Thank you for your email , concerning a possible reduction in packaging materials for our blister brands of chewing gum. We apologise for the delay in responding to you this is due to a error in the office.
The Wrigley Company continues to promote waste reduction, recycling and the use of recycled materials in all phases of the Company’s operations, and encourages its suppliers/vendors to follow or develop procedures that benefit the environment.
We constanly review the packaging of our products to ensure it meets our required standards and the needs of our customers. The Airwaves Active packaging is currently undergoing a review.
Thank you for taking the time to contact us.
On behalf of,
Office & Consumer Services Manager
“The Airwaves Active packaging is currently undergoing a review” Success? We’ll wait and see.