Welcome

Welcome
Welcome

New? Start here

New? Start here
New? Start here

Helpful Resources

Helpful Resources
Helpful Resources

A reply from Elevit


I forgot to mention in my last blog post, the reply received from Elevit.

Er, whose Elevit? Isn't that a pregnancy multivitamin?

Remember last year when I questioned who was responsible for making and reducing rubbish? Here is the blog post. For those who don't want to click through, in a nutshell, I was challenging why zero wasters kept all their rubbish in a jar, when instead we should push the responsibility back onto the businesses making the packaging, we spend so much of our time avoiding. Basically, I felt like so much obligation for avoiding waste fell onto the consumers shoulders, when really it should be both.

Consumers can only avoid so much, and if we are not speaking up, how can these big corporations know that we want change? So I decided to start speaking up, sending back rubbish that I can't avoid and ask for smarter decisions on product design. Tagging these companies in a hashtag won't always work. In the blog post, Rubbish - Who Is Responsible For Making It And Reducing It? I took aim at Elevit and their packaging. During my pregnancy, I chose to take a multivitamin that came with extra packaging. Packaging that I know could be smarter. So I sent it back, with a letter and a suggestion.

Here is what I wrote to Elevit (it was a hand written letter):

Dear product managers at Elevit,
I am sending part of your packaging back, as I could not find a way to dispose of it, other than to landfill. As a consumer, this should not be my full responsibility to figure out if packaging like your blister packs can be recycled. I believe you could do better with your packaging. It is a tad ironic that your product is to help mothers grow a healthy baby, yet your packaging is not healthy for the planet. I have included a sample of how you could make a simple swap from the plastic and aluminium blister pack to full aluminium. This would make your pill packets 100% recyclable. The swap would keep all the blister packs out of landfill, reduce resources, ensuring the next generation you are helping grow will not have to deal with our rubbish. Plastic production and its use can be harmful, not to mention landfills are expanding across the world due to poor packaging designs like this. I hope you will consider switching to full aluminium blister packs.

Sincerely,
Erin Rhoads


The below is the reply that came from Bayer, Elevits' parent company:

Dear Erin,
Thank you for taking the time to contact Bayer regarding Elevit. Your feedback is important to us and this has been forwarded to the Elevit team. Should you like to discuss this further, please call 1800 023 884 (Mon-Fri: 9am-4pm. Sydney time. Please choose option 1, then option 2). Please quote reference #AU170021xx. Alternatively, we are able to contact you if you could provide us with your telephone number. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely,
Bayer Australia Limited


Shortly after my original letter was sent, I found myself in a conversation with a someone who used to be involved with large corporations like Bayer. Not knowing my life, that I wrote a blog on reducing waste or had sent my rubbish with a letter back to a multinational company, did he tell me that if a handful of written letters are sent on a particular issue, that they have to be presented at the board of director meetings. So who knows, my letter could have made it to a director. Either way, the effort was not done in vain. A seed has been planted somewhere at Bayer.

I'm planning to delve into the subject of speaking up and activism this year, so look out for more on this subject. It seems to be a subject largely ignored. And I plan to research the legitimacy on consumer based issues making it to board of director meetings.

In the meantime, I'd would be interested to hear of stories on when you have spoken up about an issue. Was it met with any reply? How did it make you feel?

16 comments

  1. I hope they listen and make a change. Sometimes it's not possible for us to buy things that don't have wasteful packaging, and if the manufacturers aren't making a change on their own then it's up to us to try and encourage them. A few weeks ago, I contacted Quorn about why they weren't using recyclable packaging for some of their products, I got a link to a web page about their thoughts on sustainability, and protecting the environment, and said they were planning to move to fully recyclable packaging. I felt a little deflated by it because there was no set date and to me that seems like a company dragging their heels. I'm hopeful they make the change soon though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm surprised Quorn don't provide a more sustainable option in their packaging. So many people choose to eat vegan, because of environmental reasons. I guess it's the same with Elevit. They are promoting the wellbeing of new babies, but are trashing their future, with their poor packaging design. I agree, if we the consumers don't start speaking up, nothing will change. Avoiding is not the primary solution, it's simply the easiest.

      Delete
  2. This is a great initiative. Activism needs to be a more important part of zero waste otherwise we are only reducing our own waste (which is already super important), but everybody else will keep on business as usual. Personally, I came to zero waste, because I wanted to be involved in environmental associations, but it was a bad time to get involved locally as I was at a geographically unstable point of my life. I am looking forward to your thoughts on activism.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sarah, I look forward to sharing more on activism. It's a very important part of zero waste, and with the growing interest in sustainability and eco living, now is a good time to flex our citizen muscles and demand a smarter system.

      Delete
  3. Good on you! I once wrote to QANTAS about the plastic cups and packaging. I never got a reply but I notice that they now collect unused items separately from the rubbish. Its not great but its a start.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You never know Liz, your letter could have been the catalyst for them to make that change :)

      Delete
  4. This is great and I think we should all be practicing this, as we are the ones who make their business run! I contacted Nivea once about their non recyclable deo packaging; they sent me back a standard blurb that didn't answer my questions. I also contacted Bulk Barn to ask for a policy change on bringing your own containers; they responded by quoting their policy (something about cross contamination), but they also mentioned they had received that question before. About a year later they ran a pilot project to test consumers bringing their own containers. It was so widely accepted and encouraged that they changed their policy :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can only imagine that your letter to Bulk Barn helped with the change. I think companies see old fashioned letter writing as something important to consider, as it does take time and effort to sit down to construct a letter of information. As for Nivea, they might need a couple more letters for them to do anything. But, asking for a change has to start somewhere...

      Delete
  5. Anonymous5/17/2017

    Hi Erin, great piece. I would like to write some similar letters to my local businesses regarding their usage of straws/plastic ice cream spoons etc; however have found it difficult to write something convincing. It would be great if there was a resource for letter templates which were persuasive, not preachy. Which also included alternatives - like yours has above with Aluminium. The businesses could then see the advantage of making a switch that wasn't seen as onerous or perhaps more expensive. Thanks, Kate

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kate, it can be hard to write a letter asking for a company to change without sounding like your being a pain. It did take me a couple of days to construct the right letter. My first one was on the preachy side. I'm looking to put together resources that people can use for writing letters. Watch this space :)

      Delete
  6. This is great! I look forward to know more about your activism and learn from it too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Susan - I look forward to sharing more soon.

      Delete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Excellent work! I've got some old Elevit packets too - I'll do exactly the same thing as you! And see what other items are similar (Panadol? etc) Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm looking forward to read more on this topic! I want to write to my current groceries provider about inessential packaging but I wasn't sure how to go about it. Is a posted letter better than an email? How do I sound assertive but not preachy? Etc

    ReplyDelete
  10. Whilst not plastic related; I recently contacted Coles & Woolworths to suggest that they offer email receipts. I like to get a receipt to check my bank statement, but even though paper is recyclable, I feel this is a waste. Other companies (for example, Officeworks) & Public Libraries, now offer email of receipts. Both companies replied that they would take the suggestion on board.

    ReplyDelete

Powered by Blogger.