Friday, 30 March 2018

Vitamins: Is the Bottle Half Empty, Half Full, Or Almost Entirely Empty and Totally Overpackaged?

Why are so many products almost empty when you open them?

A lot of times when I open a product, I am disappointed or disgusted, depending on how much empty space there is, that all of the plastic or whatever the product is packaged in is wasted on a product that is partially or almost completely empty.

Below are only two of many, many examples of products on the market with a very empty bottle and thus overpackaging. These are both vitamins that come in plastic bottles. Think of the plastic that could be saved if these were put into appropriately sized bottles. I think my husband’s theory that they are just trying to make the package bigger, so that it is spotted on the shelf might be accurate. Either that or they're trying to fool customers that there are more tablets than there are. Either way, it's an unnecessary waste of resources.

Naturopathic Labs Vitamin C
This bottle of vitamin C was a really big bottle, but had a lot of empty space. It was only about half full. What a ridiculous waste of plastic.

My whole finger fit all the way down into the bottle as it was half empty.

The vitamins only came about  halfway up the bottle to where my thumb is.

Equate Vitamin D 1000 IU
Equate is a house brand of Walmart and one would hope that they would be cost conscious of packaging, as they offer a lot of products below the price of brand names, but this bottle was almost complete empty. It was less than a quarter full, even worse than the one above. Outrageous overpackaging like this really annoys me. There is no reason for this kind of waste.

This bottle was less than one quarter full!

Where my thumb is is where the pills go up to in this bottle (the orange section)!!!
These two companies are by no means alone in the overpackaging world. All companies need to stop doing this. It creates unbelievable waste in a world where our resources are dwindling. And it doesn't make me feel happy when I find packages are this empty either. I just feel like never buying those brands again (unfortunately most vitamin manufacturers seem to do this). Reducing is always better than recycling, so let's stop creating unnecessarily large bottles that will just end up in the landfill or recycling plant sooner than you'd think.

HP Deskjet Ink Cartridges: Expensive and Overpackaged

Two ink cartridges shouldn't produce this much waste.
I don’t print things very often on my printer. I ran out of ink last year and finally bought new cartridges (black and colour) this year for my HP printer because I had to print some tax items. I was disgusted not just by the price for two cartridges (almost $90 Canadian), but also by the overpackaging of both ink cartridges (double the waste). Sometimes it is cheaper to buy a new printer than it is to buy replacement ink cartridges which leads to further waste.

A cardboard box each, a cardboard tray each, a paper insert, a plastic foil bag each, for two ink cartridges. So much waste.
Surely there’s a way to produce less packaging for ink cartridges (and ink cartridges themselves are not easily recycled due to their mixed components, so it produces a lot of waste each time an ink cartridge is bought both at the time and down the road). Recycling is better than just garbage, but reducing is better than recycling. HP ink cartridges are certainly overpackaged.

Pomelos: Fruit in a Package Doesn’t Need Packaging

A fruit with a package (a thick peel) next to all of this unnecessary packaging,  a plastic bag, shrink wrap, a plastic ribbon.
I have blogged about packaging on fruit before (Dole bananas- see link here and pomelos more than once- see link here and link here), but I feel compelled to do it again. Some fruit probably needs some kind of packaging (example berries would fall all over the place if they didn’t have some kind of a little box), but fruit with its own package like bananas and citrus fruit, like pomelos, definitely does not need a package.

For some reason, pomelos seem to get ornate packaging every now and then (other times there is no packaging and this is great). I’m not sure if this packaging is because they are sometimes given as a gift, but they really don’t need all of this packaging.

The pomelo that my husband came home with from the grocery store the other day was incredibly overpackaged. It was housed in a plastic bag, a plastic ribbon, and plastic shrink wrap too. This is ridiculous since pomelos have a very thick peel (they taste like a mild, slightly sweeter grapefruit).

The pomelos were being sold in the grocery store like this.

"We use high-quality raw material for our goods. This is the best gifts for best Friends." That's what it said on the plastic bag that the pomelo came in.

A fruit with a package next to a plastic bag, plastic shrink wrap, and a plastic ribbon.
A peel of a pomelo can compost, but all of this garbage cannot and it’s totally unnecessary. I wish packaging of packaged fruit would just cease. Producing more stuff for landfills will make finding places to grow fruits and vegetables even more difficult. Overpackaging of organics is odious.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Influenster’s Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick Sample: Beautiful Boxes are Still Boxes

A little box in a big box. Wasting cardboard is not beautiful.
Influenster is an online product review platform where certain members (apparently social media analytics are used to choose testers) are given products to test. Reviews are then posted by members based on their experiences.

Recently, I was given a Kat Von D lipstick to test (Kat Von D Beauty Studded Kiss VoxBox) for free. The packaging on this was out of this world wasteful. Firstly, the lipstick was in a cardboard box (a safety seal would have done). Secondly, the regular sized lipstick in a box came in a much bigger box filled with tissue paper with a paper insert. This is a big waste of paper and cardboard (at least it is recyclable though) and definite overpackaging.

This box came in the mail (the mailing label is on the bottom).

This is how the box looked when opened.

When the tissue paper was removed it was just empty, empty space and this little lipstick.

The lipstick, the lipstick's box, the paper insert on top of the Influenster box (the tissue paper is not even in this picture).

In case you're wondering, the colour of the lipstick is "OG Lolita."

To their credit though, Influenster has an article on their site where they suggest ways in which members can reuse and repurpose the boxes that their sample products come in. The Kat Von D box was very colourful and I ended up cutting the top off of it and using it as an open box to store lipsticks on my makeup table. But reducing is better than reusing, so it would have been better if it had just come in a much smaller package like a small bubble mailer.

I reused the box to store my lipsticks.

Sephora: Overpackaging Like This Won’t Make For a Beautiful World

Another Sephora order, another box that's too large . . .
I've blogged about Sephora's packaging (and the packaging of the brands that they carry) before (you can find some of my blog posts here and here and here and here and here and here and here.). Sephora sometimes gets their packaging just right. Unfortunately, though, when I shop online, I often receive an overpackaged package. The problem seems to originate from the fact that Sephora insists on using cardboard boxes (with a strip of bubble wrap in the bottom) and never bubble envelopes (at least in my experience), so there will often be a lot of room in the box (for instance if one only orders one small item and this can happen a lot either if the item is high value so as to grant free shipping or if the person has VIB Rouge status which entitles the holder to free shipping on everything).

The other packaging problem that Sephora seems to have is that they carry a lot of items that have lots and lots of packaging. If a company like Sephora could influence the brands that it carries to use less packaging (for instance putting a safety seal around a lipstick, face mask, face cream, or mascara instead of using a box) then the amount of waste surrounding cosmetics and skincare would significantly decrease since Sephora is a big company with many customers.

I received this order in December (I'm just getting around to this now, since I've been busy with my baby!). I only ordered a lip gloss from Bite Beauty and a small jar of face mask from GlamGlow. Everything else below is either 100 point bonuses (in the Beauty Insider program at Sephora, each purchase gives the member points that they can then put towards deluxe samples), free samples with order (normally three with each order, but sometimes they go up to five), or the "free" makeup bag packed with samples that came with this order.

A special mention to GlamGlow for their excellent packaging of the face mask that I ordered. It had a safety seal around the small plastic jar which was filled to the brim with product. No wasting of materials here and it was fully recyclable.

Lots of packing paper as usual.
This box is definitely too big for the order.

GlamGlow is a great example of minimal packaging. Only a safety seal on this small size face mask and fully recyclable jar.

Why put a little lip gloss in such a big box? Why not use a safety seal like the face mask above?

There's nothing pretty about this wasted space or cardboard.

This lip gloss does not need any box, let alone such a big one.

This 100 point bonus bronzer had ridiculous packaging for a sample sized product.

Why make the box this thick and waste all this space?

This 100 point bonus lipstick came in a box. It is a sample size. Why not put a safety seal on it?

This 100 point bonus lipstick came in a box. It is a sample size. Why not put a safety seal on it?

Two out of three samples with the order had minimal packaging, the third, on the right, way too much.

The order came with a "free" makeup bag with samples in it. For some reason the bag was in a bag.
A bag in a bag with tissue paper too. Talk about overpackaging.

All of these samples came in the "free" cosmetics bag. Some had surplus packaging of their own.
I think that Sephora has a real chance to lead by example with their own packaging and working with the brands that they carry to create less waste and packaging or perhaps by making it easier to recycle packaging for cosmetics and skincare (mixed materials create problems, for instance in compacts that have plastic, metal, and glass or mascara that has perhaps rubber, plastic, metal, and/or bristles). While the cardboard boxes are recyclable, reducing is better than recycling. Overpackaging is never pretty (although some people on the Sephora website will disagree with me, because items that have more spartan packaging are sometimes called ugly or not pretty enough in the reviews).

Chatters Salon: Hair-raising Overpackaging

These bottles of shampoo and conditioner may be big, but they don't need a box this big.
During Chatters Salon's Boxing Day sale, I bought a large bottle of AG Hair Shampoo and one of AG Hair Conditioner. I bought them from Chatters Salon online. I buy big bottles of shampoo and conditioner, so that I won’t have to buy anymore for a long time, which conserves on packaging in the products and the packaging associated with shipping plus the impact of shipping itself. 

Unfortunately, when my purchase showed up in early January, the two large bottles were housed in an absolutely gigantic cardboard box. I have no idea why Chatters used such a huge box, but it was ridiculously over-sized and filled with packaging materials. 

The big box was full of plastic bubble packing materials.

The box was way, way too big even for 1 litre bottles.

My big bottles look positively miniature next to this gigantic box.

Using a smaller box would not only save on packing materials and cardboard, but it would probably also save Chatters shipping costs. Next time, I hope that Chatters uses a smaller box and avoids such hair-raising overpackaging.

The social media representative for Chatters Salon contacted me Friday night via Twitter:

"Interesting read. Thanks for your feedback and will share your thoughts with our shipping department. Have a great weekend."

I appreciate this swift response by Chatters Salon and the indication that something might be done to improve their packaging in the future.