Thursday, January 3, 2008

Day Two: Quick Thought

I went to Toys R Us last night as my daughters birthday is upon us. If you want to talk about packaging, check this place out. The packaging has packaging and then when you are done, they put it all in a nice HUGE plastic bag. Shocking. I made it out of there fairing better than I thought I would, and will add that stuff to the pile after her b-day. I know some of you will find me doing what I'm doing and heading to Toys R Us to be a bit odd, but I'm trying to live my life as I would have last year this time. Which is to say that I struggle with it, but I'm a normal dad who really loves his kids and while I have a serious problem with buying her stuff from the plastic Xanadu that these stores are, all she wanted was a little stroller that was pink for her doll, and this was the only place I could find one. Having said that I bought the better of the two that I could find so that it will hopefully outlast her and can be given to some other child. Will it end in the landfill? Eventually I will assume, so i think I'll have to eat this one for her sake.

Next time you're in a store, Toys R Us, Walmart, or the Supermarket, try and see if you can get out of the store with what you went there for without buying anything that has plastic packaging. And if you can't, which will probably be the case, try to make your purchase choice based on which product has less packaging. My guess is that in many cases there will be slight difference between the products you have to choose from. It's an eye-opener.



Tobias said...

Just heard you on NPR online. - Awesome. Will be following along. My wife and two kids and I live in southern Vermont - the Co-op in Brattleboro has a HUGE bulk section that we love. Dish soap, honey, Tofu to name a few of the items. It is great to refill old bottles!


Lola said...

Just a thought on packaging...

A German friend told me a while back that it is the companies that create the products that are responsible for the packaging of their products. This means that people could go into shops and buy things and they were welcome to leave the extra packaging that would be shipped back to the manufacturers. I just wish that something like this was available. Then, it would pressure the manufacturers to create more sustainable packaging.

Do you think it possible to do that in N.America?

I am also guessing that here, like there, there are all sorts of campaigns to get you to purchase reusable bags.

Anyway, best to you. I'll be watching to see how it goes.

Enci said...


In Germany around 1993 or so, the people got sick of paying for their trash that came from packaging of the things they bought.

So it was a kind of revolution, where the German customers just left the packaging in the stores and made the stores dispose of the extra trash.

That's how the stores ended up contacting the manufacturers and asked them to pay for the disposal of their extra packaging materials.

So the Manufacturers were forced to rethink their packaging and if you go the the stores in Germany now, lot of things, like cosmetics and for example toothpastes don't have any more extra packaging.

It is the people, you and I, who can force the manufacturers to reduce packaging.

My husband and I are making it slowly a habit here in Los Angeles to leave the extra packaging at the register. If more of us would do that, then we all could make a difference ;-)

Leah said...

Something like a pink dolly stroller could be bought (perhaps) at a second-hand children's clothing or store such as Goodwill, St. Vincent De Paul, etc. Again, it might take some extra time to get to such stores, but it would be an alternative to the new packaging and hassle of major retailers.

Dave said...

You are absolutely right on the pink stroller being available at a used store Leah and the one we already have (which our younger daughter pretty much hoards) was purchased just that way. I actually considered not getting her what she wanted and then decided that at 6 she's a lot farther off than most people are at 30 (she thinks all cars run on waste veggie oil, turns off lights religiously, and loves the fact that I'm not throwing anything out) so I decided that this time, she was going to get what she wanted. That said, I was very happy to find one after looking for a bit, that only had a thin cardboard wrapper that I shredded and put in the worm bin. I bought her a pretty sturdy one so it'll have a long life after she is done.
For the record I know this will end up in a landfill through someones hands down the line and it kills me. Having said that, if the request of a six year old, who said she didn't want a party because she had one last year, and at 4 said to me "I wish everyone in the whole wide world could have everything they want.....no, no, everything that they need" is to have a pink stroller and nothing else, than I think she deserves it.
You can probably sense my struggle with this, but bottom line, she's a great kid, and I'll not make some sort of purchase I'd really like for myself down the line, in order to offset this one for her.

Dave said...

I'm really fascinated by what you are talking about in Germany circa 1993. Do you have first hand knowledge of this? If so, can you drop me an email so I can learn more about it?