Tuesday, September 1, 2009

When less is more

We never know how our words or actions might rub off on our kids. I have been spouting the financial benefits of "going green" ad nauseam for some time now. Recently, I got a glimmer of hope when my son came up to me and announced that he had just figured out a great way for his favorite gaming company to save some money: just get rid of all that packaging they're using to sell their pre-paid game cards.

It's true, companies spend a lot of money to encase their products in cardboard boxes, plastic clamshells, and shrink wraps. In some cases, perhaps, this type of packaging might be justifiable. But in many, it's just plain wasteful.

In 2007, Walmart committed to reducing packaging by five percent across its supply chain by 2013. Doing only that, says the company, will have a similar effect to taking 200,000 trucks off the road each year or not burning 60 million gallons of diesel fuel. Walmart estimates that it will save approximately $3.4 billion from that reduction.

In April of this year, Walmart hosted the 4th annual Sustainable Packaging Expo for its suppliers. Other groups, such as the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, offer information and training as well. And the Sustainable Packaging Forum will be held on September 22-24, 2009 in Atlanta.

In these days, when retailers have to look at every penny, it still surprises me that so many of them have not opted to, in my son's words, "just get rid of all that packaging." They could save money, save energy AND save the planet.

It's so easy, even a child can figure it out.