Thursday, 22 October 2009

Amanda Holden and Oliver Heath are at it too!

Slimming people's bins of course...what else could I possibly mean!

Looks like zero waste could hit the nation's streets, with the help of Kenco's latest marketing strategy for their eco-refills waste-less campaign.

So check out the video below to see what TV presenter Amanda Holden and eco-designer Oliver Heath are getting up to in Waste Lane, "Up North" in Yorkshire. If it's really successful, perhaps it should be renamed Zero Waste Lane. Fingers crossed eh!

Oh, I almost forgot in my excitement, if you click through to, there is even a chance to win an eco-break. You'll also see that if you send your empty packs back to Kenco, they will be upcycled by the wonderful Terracycle AND Kenco will give money to your favourite charity too. Now that can't be bad.



John Costigane said...

Hi Mrs A,

The Waste less campaign is very worthwhile but the mickey taking of unpackaged purchases was less so.

A suitable slogan might be:

Waste less - Don't buy Kenco


HI John - I know what you mean, and I also know that you more than anyone will understand why it's taken me weeks of consideration before profiling this campaign on the blog. Kenco has received a whole load of flack about greenwash over the introduction of what is unrecyclable packaging. And it is a step backwards in a world that is promoting the designing out of waste. And that's why I have personally been at odds with this campaign, which is encouraging reducing waste on the back of a product that can't be recycled in the normal way.

From a zero waste perspective it would be far better if investment were made in using non-composite materials and supporting unpackaged alternatives or collection of coffee jar lids so that more people could recycle them. Those are the two things that would float my particular boat.

However. I understand that the eco-packs are lighter and use fewer resources than the traditional jar lid, the majority of which most likely end up in landfill.

And as far as the glass jar is concerned, it is estimated by Recycle Now, that only 50% of such containers are currently recycled in the UK, as jars are often forgotten and simply end up in landfill.

There is no getting away from the issue that it would be better to have changed behaviour so that consumers. Despite the growth in acceptance of the Zero Waste trend and my hope that manufacturers will create fewer waste streams for the waste management sector to handle, it will still be some time before the full jigsaw is in place. In the meantime, companies are in a situation where they have to evaluate which sustainable solutions work best, not just with regard to waste but in creation of carbon emissions across their business.

Kenco is publicising that the new packs are 97% lighter than the alternative glass jar-packed products (plastic lid and jar combined) and because of this has a positive impact on fuel efficiency in the logistics of distribution (lighter - more packs on a lorry etc). Possibly could mean fewer trips because you can get more on a lorry (but on that note I'd be dubious).

However, the one point that has grabbed my attention is that compared to the production of glass jars, the packs are said to use 81% less energy in the manufacturing process.

I am not an environmentalist or a sustainability expert but that seems to make sense on one level. Of course on the other, there is the issue over whether they are using recycled resources or virgin material to create a pack that has a finite end.

I would love to hear Oliver Heath's take on the issue. I talked to him at some length last year and he has extremely strong values regarding sustainability. In fact he was the very first person to introduce to me the benefits of cradle-to-cradle.

Even though Kenco's waste-less campaign, could be deemed as cheeky, greenwash or whatever , there are a few positive things that may come out of it.

For example, it is targeting a mainstream audience about wasting less. Having chosen well-known fun celebrities may touch a whole new sector of the population, who may now start to think about waste and may respond to nationwide and local recycling campaigns further down the line.

I also have a feeling that those people who are committed to recycling and slimming their bins will continue to choose the glass option, but only time will tell I guess.

Gosh, I'm afraid my comment was rather long and probably more suited to a blog post in its own right, rather than a response to your notes.

I'd be very interested to hear what people think. Should products be evaluated just on waste or is it about the bigger picture too? And by reducing energy in its production, does that make the manufacturer more sustainable even if there's still a waste product at the end? Where best does the balance sit?

And on that note, I'm off to have a coffee. Not Kenco by the way, but coffee beans bought off the market in a compostable paper bag. I only wish it was fairtrade. That would be perfection.

John Costigane said...

Hi Mrs A,

Thanks for the detailed reply.

I remember old Nescafe jars with metal lids. This would be preferable though more costly, with reuse a possible option.

Providing a total system, though with the wrong material, has value in that waste should be taken out of all product delivery. Hopefully Kenco will provide a better design next time.

mrs green said...

;) I have some very exciting news coming up about Kenco packaging with our guest post on Thus - I can't wait to share it!

Anonymous said...

My friend works for Kenco/Kraft/Jacob/Suchard/Birds whatever they are now (they are a big employer in our nearest town) and he was telling me about the plan for this earlier this year. He was in some of the meetings about it, and Kenco did work hard at creating this bag. What the original motivation was, I couldn't comment, but local management genuinely feel they are doing the 'right' thing. Kenco will be making up products like the currently available juice pouch bags and purses with the collected bags. (They're working with the same company.) I didn't talk at length about the composition of the bags (interrupted by children, probably!) and I did express my reservations about plastic instead of glass and the fact that there are only so many bags that the public will buy. The thing is, as you pointed out by the choice of celebrities, this is not aimed at 'us', it's aimed at Joe Public who thinks taking bottles to the bottle bank is the height of sustainable behaviour.
Of course, the cynical might also suggest that people carrying bags made out of Kenco products is no bad thing for Kenco....
I still don't know what I think. I read another forum where there was very heated debate as to recyclability over amount of fuel to manufacture and transport and I think the only people with all the facts are Kenco, and they will always be suspected of skewing figures to make themselves look good. I bought Kenco for a long time (before Fairtrade coffees were on the market) because I boycott Nestle, and Nescafe in particular, but more recently if I've bought instant I've bought either Fairtrade or Douwe Egberts on special offer to reuse the jars.
I remember another of your commenters once saying how complicated it is choosing products. Just reducing waste is one thing, but if you then want choice over the contents of the packaging AND the manufacturer....I think I'm with the Amish on this one- too much choice!
Thanks for an interesting post and comments, sorry mine's long too!


Hi John - Now that's going somewhat with the metal lids. My memories of coffee jars has been mainly the satisfaction of breaking the seal, which I remember doing for my mum when I was very young.

I think what's key here is that we're all going through a learning experience and research is constantly taking place whether it's development of new materials, recycling opportunities or how to encourage behavioural change.

It's quite exciting really and I am looking forward to further progress down the line. :-)

Hi Mrs G - That's great to hear. Looking forward to it. :-)

Hi Hazel - thank you for writing a comment that matches the length of ine :-D

It's really helpful to gain another perspective, particularly as it is so easy to make judgements from the outside. I completely agree, it is tricky choosing between products, particularly for those who are interested in zero waste alternatives. In fact there are a whole range of solutions to consumers but are often purely dependent on recycling facitilies that are local to them.

It would be far simpler if there were a standardised selection of packaging materials, making it easier for consumers to recycle.

At least that is happening in certain quarters. It will take time for everything to be streamlined between the manufacturing end and the waste management side of things but I am confident it will happen.

In the meantime, I hope that Terracycle's UK operation will also be able to recover and use crisp packets as they do over in the US. That would be helpful :-D

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