Packaging is a nightmare and it is costing us all dearly

Have you noticed how terrible much of the packaging we get today is.

  • Its nearly inaccessible – the use of plastic to wrap products is causing injury as people try to access the product they purchased and the type of plastic is sharp and hard to open, it is also in a lot of cases is not recycleable, so you cut your hands to shreds, you clutter up your waste bins with things that go to landfill
  • The instructions and safety are wasteful of paper all in the name of globalisation and compliance – Have you ever bought a product where the regulatory notice and the instructions actually take up more space than the product itself, no one reads them and the actual information you want to have gone on a single plastic credit card sized piece of paper.  so who is it helping and how does it save the planet or deliver a good experience for the consumer, in short it does not it in some twisted way is the bean counters and manufacturing managers who think it is a good because they have a common product they send out across the world.
  • Power supply cables – Because we cannot agree standards, we end up with nearly a meter of copper cable we through away everytime as we do not need it as it for a different country.  What does a copper three core wound cable cost and if you sell a million products its a million meters of cable that ends up in the bin or a cupboard for two years before it ends up in the bin
  • Font size on the side of tins and packets – You now need an electron microscope or at least  a magnifying glass to read the information on the side of tins, packets and other products.  Why?, is it a desire to be regulatory compliant first and not consumer centric first.  People do want to know what to do but it is lost in all the other information that regulators now say need to be provided to be legally compliant.  but no one reads it do they.

So what are the common themes here

  • Regulatory compliance trumps being customer centric
  • Customer experience is considered secondary to convenience for retailers in terms of packaging
  • Operational and manufacturing cost efficiency trumps protection of our natural resources and the environment

Now lets be clear some people do try to do better. Amazon use cardboard for their packaging, it is recycleable, it is cheap and it is based on recycle material. I know I give them a hard time for so many other failings but they get this largely correct even if the reason they do is it is cheapest option with a brand carry on environmentally responsible, corporate social responsibility as a spin off benefit

If you look at clothes retailers they use plastic which cannot be recycled but is waterproof.  Big retailers of electrical products are simply demanding packaging that goes on a display unit easily and no consideration is being made for the waste of natural resources.

Here is an example:  I got three memory sticks the size of a domino each from Amazon. They arrived in a cardboard box on a cardboard display pack with a plastic built in.  I saved petrol by having them posted, bought at  a cheaper price than in store by 30% and also got free delivery.

So is there someone out there doing the maths, how much natural resource are we wasting in terms of

  • plastics of many types
  • copper cable
  • distribution costs due to space wasted
  • medical supplies repairing the damage caused by packaging
  • land fill for things that cannot be replaced

Should we be asking ourselves

  • How many pence in every pound we spend
  • How much time do we waste a year dealing with poor packaging
  • How much stress does poor packaging cost
  • How did the madness of bean counters and manufacturing managers become more important than the environment and the customer.
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