Friday, 2 December 2011

The Bane of Excess Packaging

Excess packaging. You know the stuff, cardboard boxes containing the smallest bottle or tube of product, or the absolute annoyance of plastic-wrapped stuff that you need a strong pair of scissors (or even better a Chain Saw) to even make a dent on! Oh yes, packaging has become a huge bane on the lives of most of us.

Why does Excess Packaging irritate me so much? I actually have a few issues with excess packaging, especially on beauty products:

One. The fact that it is usually about three times larger than the actual product, which is just ridiculous.

Two.  In the case of plastic packaging, it's not only a case of packaging being several times larger than the product, but also the fact that you can't get to said product. And, it's always a case of having to use a sharp knife or scissors to get into the product, which typically results in sharp edges, which is surely dangerous?

Three. It's just something that is barely looked at once you've got the product home, because if the product comes with instructions, they're generally included on the side of the product, or on an included leaflet. Therefore, I for one, just chuck the packaging straight out, without even thinking about it, once I've taken photos for the blog.

So, why do beauty companies do it? My first idea, was that perhaps it's because the company thinks that the product looks nicer, if it is "sugar coated" in all of this packaging? I mean, 99% of brands sell nail polish minus any packaging, other than the actual bottle. Therefore, why do online beauty company E.L.F feel the need to send us their polishes in all of THIS packaging:


One one go that is two offending items, of the cardboard box, which then needs the plastic inside in order to keep the polish in position. It just seems ridiculous, and I can not think of any plausible reason why this is at all necessary.

I was recently approached by the lovely people at Green People, who I am a big fan of but had to questions why this product:


Comes in this packaging:


As I blogged, in my previous review of this product, I had queries regarding why they used so much packaging, and why there was a need for the box at all? My issue, in this specific case, centred around the idea that Green People were supposed to be about taking care of the environment, so was using excess packaging like this, really that "green"?

And well, Green People wanted to clear that up.

Apparently, Green People, at least, need to use this kind of packaging, because they need to include information regarding EU Regulations. This actually makes a lot of sense, because that's not really the kind of information you could probably fit onto the product itself, and I'm assuming that it is actually a legal requirement to include this type of information.

However, E.L.F's nail polishes can't surely be using that same principal, because every other company seems to do fine without a box, so I don't really understand their need to do it.

But, what about the Environment? The problem with being forced (in a sense) to need excessive box packaging, is of course the damage that it may have on the environment, as the box is disposed of, by the customer.

Not to mention the fact that cardboard used to create the boxes must have come from somewhere, which means more trees being used to make the board.

Green People were keen to assert that 50% of the board used was recycled from previously-used cardboard.

What does using recycled cardboard mean? Basically, that means that no further trees were used in the creation of it. Instead, another product was broken down and mashed up a bit to create the box I had in my hand (although not anymore, since I sent it to be recycled ;P). And what about the other 50%? Well, that was created using sustainable soft-wood! Simples.

What is Sustainable wood? If wood has been sourced in a "sustainable" fashion, it has not been taken from a forest that would cause deforestation. Instead, it will have been taken from a forest with enough trees for the forest to re-spawn and continue to thrive.



So, in very basic maths and science, or whatever. Say you have fifty trees, and thirty are needed in order for it to continue growing, no more than twenty trees will ever be removed.

But isn't the ink harmful to the environment? Actually, no. Green People only use inks that are 100% non-solvent, so they won't cause any damage to the environment.

This might seem like a really long post, about an issue that so many of us have with excess packaging, but personally, I think that it's an important one to look at. Do you think that beauty companies are doing enough to tackle excessive packaging? do you think it's okay to have the excess packaging, as long as it has been created using only recycled and/or sustainable sources? 


And why on Earth do E.L.F box their nail polishes? I would really love to know.


Please feel free share your thoughts :)
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2 comments

  1. I agree with you, I'm very conscious about our environment too and try to cut down on waste. ELF nail polishes baffles me too as they are sold online anyway so they do not need the packaging as it's not being displayed in a shop.

    I think recycling is such a big thing these days that people actually forget that Reduce and Reuse is the most important of the 3 R's and recycling should be the last resort!

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  2. I'm attempting to find out exactly why E.L.F use so much packaging, however, they apparently do sell products in stores in the US, which might have something to do with it, but I still say if other brands don't need it, then why do E.L.F...on a mission to find out :)

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