More Green Thoughts

Sep 10, 2008 7:18 PM  By

On vacation last week, I was sitting on the shoreline of Maine, daydreaming and drinking a bottle of water. I noticed that the Poland Spring bottle seemed somehow different. It was thinner plastic, and had a few more ridges to hold on to it with. On the label I read:

“Our bottle looks and feels different because it is purposely designed with an average of 30% less plastic to be easier on the environment. We can all make a difference, please recycle.”

I had just written about the need for the catalog industry to trumpet its green efforts. Now, I thought to myself, here is a product that I’m sure has a major carbon footprint, but Poland Spring has taken a practical step to help the environment and diffuse some of the environmental objections.

On the Poland Spring Website, I later found that the bottle also:

–Features a new label that’s 30% smaller
–Is 100% recyclable
–Is flexible so it’s easier to crush for recycling

A few days later I was looking through the AAA (auto club) magazine and spotted that same recycling symbol, with this statement:

“All trees used to manufacture paper for our magazine were harvested from sustainably managed forests. Recycling old magazines and catalogs is one of the easiest ways to help the environment. We urge our readers to support recycling efforts in their communities.”

This begs the question, how much more are you planning to do with your business — whether it’s recycling office waste, using lighter paper weights, or supporting environmental issues? Not to mention, are you selling recycled cartons and wastes from your distribution center at a profit?

Through publishing and mailing millions of catalogs, you are in control of a major outlet for communicating your own environmental efforts, and for advocating that consumers do the same. You have another chance to get your message out in your cartons and packaging materials — so let your customers know what you’re doing to be green and how they can help.

Without the consumer taking action and doing their part in recycling, little will be achieved. The green movement is gaining momentum; are you doing what you can to make sure you are a participant, and not a target?

Curt Barry is president of F. Curtis Barry & Co. (, a multichannel operations and fulfillment consulting firm with expertise in systems, warehouse, call center, inventory, and benchmarking.