Tuesday, September 23, 2008

why is it so hard to be green?

I'm pretty convinced that the packaging industry doesn't really WANT us to all start packaging green. If they did, they'd make it obtainable, affordable and logical to achieve.

Problem number 1: Can't get small quantities. If I want to start using "green" coffee cups, I have to order 10,000 of them in order to not pay astronomical shipping costs or the highest possible price. Got any idea how much space 10,000 12oz coffee cups takes up? Well, picture a single car garage. Then picture it pretty much full. (meanwhile, picture the bank account pretty much empty, because I just spent $1200 on coffee cups).

Problem number 2: Our suppliers that we currently buy packaging from have no incentive to source out green packaging because the costs to them are high, which they then HAVE to pass on to us, which makes it even MORE unafforadable - EVEN THO we've told them we'll pay it... just don't make us buy 10,000 at a time!

Problem number 3: Much of the biodegradable packaging out there is made from corn. Corn is replacing wheat in many crops in order to make biofuel. Biofuel is the main culprit behind the cost of flour going through the roof... so... buying CORN-based products is essentially cutting off my nose to spite my face.

Problem number 4: Petroleum-based products are skyrocketing in price now because of the "oil shortage"... so now, we're seeing the prices of the packaging that we've already been buying start to climb toward the cost of biodegradable packaging, and it's still BAD for the environment.

SO... do we just keep buying the same old stuff until it finally is more expensive than the biodegradable stuff? Do we take a stand and say NO to packaging altogether until we can find what we want? We KNOW it's out there - we can see it on the internet! It's HOW to get it that's the problem.

It's a dilemma.
People don't quite seem ready to take their food away in their hands without some sort of paper or plastic product protecting them from it...
So if we say "bring your own packaging or you're gonna get food on your hands," do you think we'll lose customers? Of course we will. Will we lose them for long? This i don't know.
I'm hardly an eco-freak... I just feel like we HAVE to do our part as a business. It's up to business and industry to lead the way... because as long as they are getting the tax breaks, and making the most mess, the rest of the population will be calling "hypocrite" and that simply isn't right.

Why should we - i mean the collective we, as in the private citizens of the world, have to shoulder the entire burden of saving the planet??

Why aren't captains of industry, big players in corporate kingdoms, and international business leaders standing up and leading the charge? They are the ones who have the most to GAIN by taking the forward steps... THEY are the ones that we will support with our consumerism if they lead by example. THEY are the ones who will get lauded for being "forward thinking" and "visionary"...
But yet here we are - jack and jill average, scared to death that our grandchildren and great grandchildren may not get to see the sun, or that polar bears may extinct, or that summer and winter will change times of year - scrounging our cloth bags out of the trunk, or hiking to the store with our backpacks, or lugging around stainless steel, BPA-free, non-petroleum-based cups, plates, spoons and bags to carry our organic, fair-trade, small-estate, locally grown or built "whatchamahoosits" in back to our compact-flourescent-lit, programmable-thermostat-heated, energy-star-compliant homes that cost us a small fortune to convert - in an effort to save the planet...

I don't get it.
I do what I can, what I choose to afford, what i can rationalize in my own life... and I admit, sometimes I take the easier/cheaper way out.
And I feel guilty about it.

Why don't the big guys feel guilty?????
THAT is what I don't get, I think...
I can barely sleep at night knowing that I've paid $130 for 50 big cake boxes that are going to carry a cake from my store to your house, and then promptly end up in your recycling bin or fireplace... and those guys get to make zillions polluting the planet, and destroying the forests, and killing the oceans, and raping the tarsands...

1 comment:

Tess said...

Yeah, it pisses me off too. There's only so much the average person can do to save the planet, given how expensive many of the "options" are.

If I knew beforehand I'd need my own container for takeout, I'd certainly bring my own :) And quite happily.