Active Discard

By August 31, 2011 No Comments

Friday is housekeeping day in the Johnson household. The day is usually marked by hidden treasures emerging from my kids pockets.

This is how I discovered a non-recyclable one this week:
Max: “Wow, we really don’t have that much trash.”
Bea: “What did you throw out to notice what was in there?” 😉
As Max was putting his dirty laundry in the machine, he found the plastic wrapper of RealD 3D glasses in one of his pockets. In our previous life, we would have discarded it and never thought about it again (…and repeated the same disregard for our discards, each subsequent viewing of a 3D movie). But today, that wrapper (and others going into our trash container) calls for further investigation and one or more following actions:
-Finding an ALTERNATIVE: In the future, Max will keep the 3D glasses for reuse instead of placing them in the dedicated recycling container at the theater.
-Contacting RealD by PHONE (888-334-3577): Their sales representative explained the company’s operation. Movie goers use the glasses, theaters collect them, and send them back to RealD. RealD then sanitizes and re-packages them. Talk about “cleanliness standards” needing revision… I suggested that her company reconsidered its impact on the environment.
-EMAILING RealD (support@reald.com):
Hi: I am a simple movie goer, who also strives to live a zero waste lifestyle.
I found out that you reuse the 3D glasses which is great, but I do not support the plastic sleeve, which is meant for the landfill. So here are some questions that you might want to consider:
-Is sanitizing really necessary, are plastic sleeves necessary? It seems that our society has gone germaphobic; Sanitizing and plastic sleeves only supports that unnecessary fear of germs and subsequent unnecessary waste.The last time I visited Disneyland, their reused 3D glasses were neither sanitized nor wrapped in plastic.
-If you truly feel that the sleeve is needed, how about using paper instead? It would not only be recyclable but also biodegradable/compostable.
-How about adding a note on your wrapper that would encourage viewers to reuse their glasses? I doubt that 3D is going away, so might as well encourage people to keep their glasses for next time. (Your receptacle in movie theatres could be used for extras.)
-or better yet: “How about selling longer lasting glasses (real glass lenses in metal frames) to users instead? as a one time fee option to a movie ticket?
I thank you for your time. I applaud your reusing efforts, you are going in the right direction. I look forward to seeing your environmentally caring improvements.
Sincerely yours,
-MAILING to RealD (100 North Crescent Dr., Suite 120, Beverly Hills, CA 90210) the plastic wrapper with a note such as the copy of the email above or just a few words: “are these really necessary?” or “Please reconsider wasteful practices”.
The most common email that I receive from newcomers interested in Zero Waste is about the lack of bulk in their town and their loss as to what to do beyond it. My advice to them, apart from adopting reusables, is quite simple: Let your voice be heard! (I can’t stress it enough).
We all have a choice: We can throw it in the “can” time after time, and therefore condone wasteful practices – or we can actively do something to make change happen in our communities. Don’t wait for change. Ask for it. Make it happen. Speaking with the grocery store manager to request bulk, suggesting an alternative or no packaging to a manufacturer, or calling a junk mailer, might be time consuming. But a weekly email, call, or letter, is manageable and is a powerful way of pro-actively supporting Zero Waste beyond bulk shopping.
In the comment section, I invite you to share your examples of constructive, to the point letters. Please no rambling 🙂 I hope to make it easier for our community to send or re-purpose our constructive feedbacks. Remember, positive feedback is welcome too. Last week, I contacted Rayovac (800-237-7000) to congratulate and thank them for their innovative cardboard rechargeable battery packaging.
Do you have some letters to share with others?

PS: I hope you remembered to vote today 😉 https://www.THEGreenAwards.com/Default.aspx?v=221

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