The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Beating the Brand

A while ago (has it already been a month since I first saved the link?) theferrett ranted about packaging:

And what do I get?

A bag. Inside the bag is a big, heavy plastic container for each of my foodstuffs. And a cardboard box. When I get home after a five-minute walk, I unpack almost an armful of carrying cases for food that, once shucked away from the food itself, takes up a quarter of the trashcan. It's big, completely sealed material for a product that has no sauces or sloppy bits— an Iron Man armor for a dry chicken wrap.

I didn't want that. I would have been just as happy with biodegradable cardboard or wax paper. Or even regular paper, for some of it. But no, the food I have is so heavily armored, as though it were going for a ride all the way to the fucking Andes, as opposed to sometimes a ten-foot walk to the other side of the room.

I feel awful. It's gratuitous waste, designed for the convenience of American customers, and in this day and age of decreasing oil supplies, I'd be happy to have a slightly greasier carrying experience (so long as the bag didn't break) in exchange for not loading the landfills with an additional quarter-pound of garbage. And I think about the other thousands of meals being served in Rocky River alone, and I wonder how many of these take-out meals are going anywhere beyond, say, into the passenger seat of a car and onto a table. Do we need all this?

theferrett: Wastelands

And I couldn't help but think about Mike Täht's rant about branding and reaction to it.

I suspect most companies overpackage because of branding issues. Really, what exactly is the difference between the dark sugar water known as Coke and the dark sugar water known as Pepsi? [1] One is just as good as the other, right? [2]

But perhaps a backlash is forming—an English documentary “Packaging is Rubbish” (part 1 part 2 part 3) is a look at a movement towards eliminating excess packaging (in fact, Lush, a cosmetics company in England, has done away with packaging and is attempting to encourage other companies to do the same).

  1. Well, for one thing, Coke has a more citrusy, less sweet flavor which I find more refreshing than the cloyingly sweet Pepsi—and yes, I have taken the Pepsi Challenge. To me, Pepsi is eeeeeeeeeevil. But I digress … [back]
  2. Hell no! Coke is way better than that hellish swill known as Pepsi. [back]

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