Consumers Throw Environmental Responsibility Out the Window

Are we destined to be buried under mounds and mounds of garbage?

DH and I were having a discussion about the K-cup issue Friday at lunch.  He brought up a very good point that to change, develop, implement and test a change to the K-cup design and materials could cost millions of dollars.  Not only in the implementation and introduction to the market, but what if the product is a failure.

Having come from a purchasing and sales background I did understand where he was coming from.  A change in material is not a simple switch.  Dies, presses, extruders, etc. may also have to be retooled, remade or tossed out the window altogether for a different model that will handle the new material.  What kind of environmental impact does that make?  I would imagine it is huge in comparison to the end result.

Then there is the issue of consumer acceptance.  What if the packaging doesn’t keep the product fresh as long as consumers would like? What if it looks very different?  Feels different? SOUNDS different?  Yes I said sounds.  It turns out that the Sun Chips compostable bag was a bust on the market because it was too LOUD.  Not color loud, but noisy LOUD.  What the what!?!

DH did say that the package he did get was very noisy in comparison to the old bags.  So because of observations like this and many consumer complaints Frito Lay announced last week that they will be composting the idea of the Sun Chips biodegradable bag and going back to their old packaging.

Are consumers out of their minds?  “Hmm, let me see – shall I endure a noisy bag so that my impact on the environment is less or do I want a plastic bag that will sit for a 100 plus years in a landfill paving the way for a WALL-E type planet?  Ugh, give me WALL-E I can’t hear my chips crunch between my teeth because of this noisy bag.” Give me a break.  Were these people upset because they couldn’t sneak the bags into the theater anymore without getting caught?

One step forward, two steps back.

Update 10/2/2013: I feel like a big hypocrite because environmental responsibility has taken a back seat in my house.  In the last two months I’ve abandoned emptying the K-cups for compost or attempting to reuse them.  The clutter and time expenditure of the project was becoming too much.  I’ve needed to refocus my efforts to get more organized so that accomplishing my daily stay-at-home, homeschooling, blogging mom duties becomes more seamless and then I can reintroduce those tasks that are more a passion than a necessity.

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