Take a look at the shot below. That there, my dear blog land dwellers, is my mail collection from one day. You’ll note it’s mostly parcels sent in expensive overnight bags and courier boxes. What you can’t see is the amount of guff inside the parcels (I don’t wish to expose culprits): elaborately written press releases, products, books, sugary snacks, padding, bubble-wrap, gimmicky invites (sand in a glass bottle?!) and…tinsel. What none of us see is the hidden costs: the labour, the resources, the carbon emissions to produce and cart such guff around the planet.
All of which gets me really upset.
Admittedly, the above represented a particularly large dumping. Although, most days entail carting at least 2-3 parcels back from the post office (please note: my physical carting of said guff is not the pivot point of my gripe).
Why does it upset me? I’d like to explain why, as a thinly disguised (and polite) message to those who might be thinking of sending me something some time soon.
In flat out terms: the above is a huge waste of resources. Unforgivably so.
Leaving aside the actual manufacturing cost of the product itself, there’s the work that went into the junior PR staffer writing the release (then getting it checked, legalled etc), the packaging, the postman’s time sorting and delivering the packages, the transport costs, the issuing of a notification in my box, the second reminder when I can’t get to the post office for a few days. And so on. All very well if the product is needed and/or useful. But in most cases it’s not. And these costs – specifically to the planet – devastate me.
Generally the sender doesn’t wear these costs. Their client does. And so there’s too little accountability or conscious thought going into the blind sending out of the guff. This is the unforgivable part.
In addition, it’s a huge waste of my resources. Every parcel in that shot above requires either a polite thank you note or a detailed email to the sender explaining I can’t promote the particular product they’ve sent me as it doesn’t fit with my message or ethics. Which in so many cases it doesn’t because:
I actively and vocally promote minimal consumption.
I get doubly upset that this ethos is not respected. Leaving aside the times the product in question is full of cane sugar or laced with toxic chemicals.