Return to sender…

mg22My good friend, Small Footprints is at it again.

Once again she is looking in my mind and searching about for clues.

This week she has uncovered one of my weaknesses and she’s holding up a mirror by challenging us to become activists.

At the beginning of this year I made a pact with myself. I decided to ‘up the ante’ and instead of putting non recyclable packaging in landfill, I’d save it all up and return to the manufacturers with a covering letter.

I envisaged responses from the CEO ensuring me they would be making changes.

Well I did this for january and February and to say the results were disappointing were an understatement.

I went to the trouble of writing directly the CEO where possible, after someone told me they were obliged to answer. Alas, most of my responses were directed to customer services where I was given the bog-standard spew of political talk. But most of my letters were ignored.

I even had one company who sent me a replacement product, complete with crap packaging as some sort of ‘apology’

So I gave up.

but I kept saving the packaging.

And now I have 3 1/2 months work of non recyclable packaging that is on its way to landfill unless I do something about it.

Only last week I decided I’d had enough, I wasn’t going to be a martyr any more. It was taking me about a day to gather together, package and write the letters for a month’s worth of packaging and I though there had to be a more productive way to spend my time.

but now Small Footprints has got me thinking and she’s walked straight into my conscience and tugged at my heart strings when she wrote “The idea, here, is to take action and make your voice heard on behalf of the environment and all of it’s inhabitants“.

So how can I stop now? How can I give up hope and just dump my stuff in landfill when maybe one of my letters could make a difference? How can I let the environment down, because Mother Nature needs us to stand up for her and her rights.

This coincides perfectly with a story I read this week in Positive News, in which it was reported that Bolivia is to become the first country in the world to give nature legal rights in an effort to halt climate change and the exploitation of the natural world.

So, my challenge to myself this week is to go through that drawer of ‘rubbish’ and send it back to the manufacturers with the plea that they use something more sustainable in future. I may be gone some time …


  1. Bee on June 22, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    I am so proud of you for doing this! It is inspiring! I haven’t received non-recyclable packaging in a while, but I’m going to save it the next time I do.

    I also wanted to say thank you for mentioning Positive News. I new there had to be something out there like it!


  2. Small Footprints on June 22, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Wow, Mrs. Green … this is one of the best ideas I’ve heard! And you’re right … maybe one letter will be heard and positive action will be taken. If just that one letter is taken to heart, we have won a small victory and improved the world. It’s a brilliant idea!

    Years ago, before the “do not mail” lists came out, I was sick and tired of getting junk mail and advertisements. So, I used their own return envelopes (which usually were postage paid) and crammed the “junk” back into it (including the original envelope that it all came in) and sent it back to them. It was amazing how quickly they pulled me from their lists (hehe).

    I can’t wait until you get your first positive letter back saying they will change their ways!

  3. Mrs Green on June 24, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    @Bee: Glad you are inspired by Positive News; it’s a wonderful publication; I just wish it was more frequent than quarterly!

    @Small Footprints: Why thank you ma’am. I agree, if you can just get through the 99% that have no effect and focus on the 1% that does – it’s all about a positive mindset. I send back junk mail too.

  4. Kris on June 30, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Wow – what a great idea! I understand that you haven’t had a good response so far, but you are making the effort and that is what really matters. I do love that there are some companies that are thinking though. I came across a makeup company that has this policy..if you return 5 or 6 (I can’t remember right now) full sized, empty, make-up containers they will provide you with a free like free foundation for returning 6 empty foundation containers. However, the packaging that you ship them the items in must be fully recyclable. If it’s not, you don’t get the full item. How about that? Looking to reward loyal customers by giving them a free item but making sure it’s all eco-friendly too. Of course this company is now going to get a ton of my business, as long as I like the product. Today’s the first day trying it out. haha

  5. Good Girl Gone Green on July 9, 2011 at 4:36 am

    You go girl! If only one person/company responds and listens to you, it was all worth the hassle and time! One person at a time…we cant change everyone at once! Good Luck, Mrs. Green!

  6. Mrs Green on July 18, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    @Kris: Thanks Kris; this has been a really tough one because I STILL feel like I’m wasting my time, but by breaking it down into bitesized chunks and not spending a whole day writing letters I can manage it. I’ll be sure to share any successes online! Love the business model you shared – that’s fantastic.

    @Good Girl Gone Green: Thanks so much for the encouragement!