It’s hard to wrap our heads around the amount of excess packaging on our store shelves. Plastic can play a vital role in protecting products during shipping, preventing theft, or extending the longevity of certain foods – but a large majority is pure waste. In fact, 89% of all the plastics created worldwide annually are unable to be recycled and therefore are strictly garbage (Environmental Defense, 2019). As a consumer, we can choose a lifestyle of low-waste or opt for reusable items that are eco-friendly; however, we can be limited by the manufacturer’s choice on packaging materials.
How can you help? Voice your opinion! Write a letter to the ones who can make these changes. It may feel like one person can’t make a difference, but you never know how many other individuals with the same concerns as you have previously spoken out. Here are 5 key points when writing an impactful complaint letter to companies:
- Leverage Brand Loyalty
Consumers can simply switch brands, though some options are very limited or we have loyalty to certain companies. In this case, illustrate to the company why you like their product while stating your disappointment that their eco-goals don’t match with yours.
- Present Evidence
Make the company aware of current environmental issues caused by over-packaging. Use statistics or scientific evidence from legitimate sources to back up your case.
- Be Direct
Make sure your request for change is obvious and direct to reduce confusion. Some possible questions are, “Is your company looking for sustainable packaging alternative?” or “May I give you a suggestion about alternative packaging?”
- Kindness is Key
Sending positive words will make the manufacturer more receptive to your request. Passion can sometimes come across as aggression. Remember to be courteous because most people only go out of their way to write a letter if they’re angry. A positive message is more likely to bring about constructive change.
- Hello, it’s me…
Follow up is important, but only in moderation. Leave at least a week in between each follow up if you haven’t heard back. Follow up two or three times, and if there is still no response you may want to consider switching companies.
Environmental Defense. 2019. Canada’s plastic pollution problem. Accessed at: https://environmentaldefence.ca/canadas-plastic-pollution-problem/. Accessed on: 6 February 2020.