NZ’s Best & Worst Packaging Awards 2011

This is a fantastic idea! The crew at Wanaka Wastebusters have come up with a way for folk to nominate the best, and more importantly, worst, examples of packaging in NZ, at unpackit.org.nz. So, nows the time to vent all your frustration with overpackaged fruit wraps, (what’s wrong with fresh fruit?), and eggplants on styrofoam trays. At the same time ,you might want to applaud, (warning: shameless self promotion coming up), these responsibly packaged toothbrushes! You’ve got till midnight 20th March to get your nominations in.

This is part of a wider project that the Wanaka Wastebusters are involved in called Demystifying Packaging Choices. The overall goal of the project is to raise awareness about the issue of packaging waste and to help people to choose the best forms of packaging so they can reduce, reuse and recycle. They’ve already conducted a survey on the packaging choices people make, have created a web resource to help with these choices, are running these awards along with a national roadshow, and will finally follow up with another survey to see if its all made any difference to the choices people make.

In the past we’ve blogged about the frustration of having to look out for greenwashing. No doubt we’ve all seen examples of it, well when looking around the Unpackit website I stumbled across this wee gem – the Seven Sins of Greenwashing. It outlines seven ways of critiquing a product to ensure you don’t spend your eco-dollar unwisely.

You’ll be able to follow the results of Unpackit’s competition on their website, and we’ll also keep you up to date with any developments.



Greenwash

It is only in the last couple of weeks that I’ve become aware of the term greenwash. However, when I diligently consult good ol’ Wikipedia, I’m told that the term has been about since 1986 when it was used by a NY environmentalist, Jay Westerveld, to describe businesses spending considerably greater amounts on advertising their ‘green’ credentials in order to attract customers, than they do on making any actual change that is of benefit to the environment. According to Wikipedia there has even been a ‘Greenwashing Academy Awards’ in 2002 at a World Summit on Sustainability.

I love the term. I like the idea that fear of being branded with the label might discourage businesses from engaging in the practice. I wonder how many purchasing decisions I make each week? Whatever the number, I know that I don’t have the time or patience to look into the back story behind every ‘green’ claim made by companies and it’d be great to be able to believe all that we read on labels.

We are slowly finding our rubbish free way in Auckland. This week we bought some meat from an organic butchery just up the road from where we’ve been staying. They were very encouraging of our desire to use our own containers when purchasing meat and nothing was a problem in this regard. The price wasn’t as high as I thought it might’ve been, and considering the small amount of meat we consume I think it is well worth paying. We’ll probably go back to our old trick of shopping there once a month or so and freezing it in between. We also made a trip to a Bin Inn in Browns Bay and stocked up on lots of dry goods so we won’t need to go there for another month either.

Thanks for all the messages of support and welcome to our new home town, it’s much appreciated, cheers!

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Full text at Greenwash