Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Go Pro Hero 5 Blue Water Snorkel Filter from Best Buy

My husband ordered a Blue Water Snorkel Filter (red filter) for our Go Pro Hero 5 for snorkelling on our trip to French Polynesia (see our travel blog) from Best Buy online.

On a plus side, it arrived in one day. On the downside, this tiny filter that can fit in the palm of your hand arrived in a big box, surrounded by mountains of paper (seriously, the mass of paper was over six feet long when removed from the box), and then in its own box as well (which had several component parts both plastic and cardboard).

A mass of paper covered the tiny box in the big cardboard box.

Why did Best Buy use such a big box to send this tiny box?

Acres of packing paper.

The filter's box is wrapped in plastic.

Inside the box is the tiny red filter with its little carrying bag.

Why couldn't this little group have been put in a bubble envelope instead of a big box?

The tiny red square is the filter in a sea of packaging that's mostly unnecessary, overpackaging for sure.

Why couldn't Best Buy have used a bubble envelope to send the little box that housed the tiny filter? This is definitely a prime example of overpackaging.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The Hudson Bay's Lord & Taylor Cashmere Cardigan Comes With Copious Casing

During Boxing Week sales, I ordered a Lord & Taylor cashmere cardigan on sale from The Bay a.k.a. The Hudson's Bay online. The cardigan arrived about a week later in a very large plastic bubble wrap envelope.

This envelope was well over a foot long and wide.

When I opened this, I found a plastic wrapped high quality large cardboard box that says "Lord & Taylor." There was also the receipt and a packing slip from The Bay.

Why did this box inside a plastic envelope come wrapped in another layer of plastic?
I took off the plastic wrap.

So far the packaging included a large bubble wrap envelope, packing slip, receipt, plastic bag, and a large cardboard box.
I opened the box. Inside was another lid, this time made of clear plastic, proclaiming that this was a cashmere robe (it could be used as this if you were quite short, but it was marketed as a tie front cardigan) and the original manufacturer's suggested price.

Why does this box have a plastic insert?
I took this additional lid off and finally hit the cardigan, along with tissue paper.

Tissue paper inside the cardigan.
The cardigan had its tags and a very very meagre spare thread that really couldn't be used to repair much more than the tiniest of holes, so I suppose Lord & Taylor wants this cardigan to be basically disposable, so that you'll just buy another one as soon as it gets a hole in it. We are living in a disposable society after all.

Gee thanks for the cashmere thread to repair holes with. What a generous amount, Lord & Taylor.
When I stacked all of the packaging together, I was amazed that one cashmere cardigan, that could have fit in a much smaller bubble wrap envelope and could have been sent like that without any box or additional plastic or anything could have resulted in this much garbage/recycling/waste. Every business needs to start assessing how much packaging they're using to send out purchases now that so many people are buying items online instead of in stores. Yes, some items that are fragile like electronics and glass need more packaging, but a sweater does not need this much packaging.

This really is an astonishing amount of waste for one sweater.

This Lord & Taylor cashmere cardigan from The Bay a.k.a. The Hudson's Bay is a prime example of overpackaging (and I bought a different style of Lord & Taylor cashmere sweater for someone this winter in store from The Bay and it came with zero packaging, so this is online shopping causing overpackaging in this particular instance).

P.S. On January 20th, 16 days after receiving my sweater in the mail, I discovered two holes along one seam of the sweater. I have contacted Hudson's Bay and am waiting for their customer service department to deal with this extremely disappointing turn of events. The Hudson's Bay Twitter contact person is very helpful and quick though and was able to collect information from me and then send it to the customer service department to start an escalation process very soon after I tweeted them. As I stated above, there is definitely not enough thread to make more than one micro repair to this sweater and really a two week period of wear before it has holes makes this sweater almost disposable. Disposable cashmere? What will our society think of next? AJEG

Two holes at the seam of the sweater have formed after only 16 days of having this sweater in my house. Shockingly bad quality.
P.P.S. January 26, 2017- I have received an email from the customer service department at Lord & Taylor/ The Hudson's Bay apologizing for the poor workmanship of the sweater and offering a full refund as there are no equivalent cardigans to replace mine with. While a hole-free cashmere sweater is preferable, at least The Hudson's Bay is standing behind their merchandise. I have accepted this proposed resolution. AJEG

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Phillips Sonicare Electric Toothbrush Replacement Heads- Lots of Waste in a Very Expensive Package

My husband and I use a Phillips Sonicare EasyClean Electric Toothbrush (the charger is original, the toothbrush itself had to be replaced after a drop that ruined it, but we found a replacement on eBay for an okay price) and while we like the product itself (it seems to clean the teeth well and with sensitive heads lead to minimal gum irritation), buying its replacement heads is always a painful task. First of all, for a package of only three little replacement heads, it's crazily expensive ($39.99 Canadian plus tax in most places for the sensitive type that we buy, which is $45.59 including tax per pack, or $15.20 per toothbrush head! N.B. the replacement heads were not that expensive to begin with- it's one of those situations where they release a new type of toothbrush, make its replacement heads way cheaper than the ones for the older models, you buy that new model, then they raise the price of the new model's replacement heads over and over again until you contemplate whether or not it's worth upgrading to a newer model or changing companies altogether.). It's also annoying, because there are so many different types of heads for the myriad of different types of Phillips toothbrushes, so you always have to remember which is your particular model of toothbrush, and check on the package of replacement heads that they will work for your particular model (our replacement head package lists seven different types of Phillips toothbrushes that this type of replacement head apparently works with and there are several other types of heads to choose from in the Phillips Sonicare section of the toothbrush replacement head aisle).

Further, when you get the package of replacement heads home, there are other frustrations. Our particular type of replacement head package come with three replacement heads. Who is this pack geared towards? If you have two people in a house, then you have to buy two packages to even out the number of replacement heads. If you have a family of four, then it creates an even worse numbers situation.

Then you have to get the package open. It's one of those hermetically sealed plastic creations that turns the most docile of consumer into a brutal baboon, grunting and pulling at the package to try to get inside.
A surprisingly large package for three little toothbrush heads. Guess they're trying to make it look like more value since you're paying over $15.00 per toothbrush head . . .
I had to cut open the package at least partially before my brute force released the contents of the package.
This oversized package is full garbage.
And boy is there ever a lot of stuff in that plastic package. First of all, the package is too big for just three little toothbrush heads (executives of Phillips might chime in here with the exception to packaging rule that if something is likely to be shoplifted then the package can be made unnecessarily big- but in most stores they put the electric tracking stickers in these packages so that if they are shoplifted, the store alarms go off). Secondly, there are several different components to the package including a plastic tray to hold the toothbrush heads, three toothbrush heads each with its own plastic travelling cover, a little plastic bag with three different coloured plastic bands that you can use to change the colour of the band of your toothbrush head with if you want to have a different one from whoever else you're living with, a paper coupon for the Phillips Sonicare Airfloss (coupons for more toothbrush heads would be more useful, I'm never going to buy that other contraption no matter how many coupons I see for it during the course of buying packages of toothbrush heads), two paper card inserts that go at the front and back of the plastic package, and the unnecessarily large plastic container itself that houses all this garbage.

Why are there so many unnecessary components in here? Some people will recycle them, but I'm guessing a lot of this crap will end up in the landfill never ever used and completely unnecessary to begin with.
Just look at the empty plastic package next to the only necessary items, the three toothbrush heads. How much waste could we cut down on if we had a small package with less junk crammed into it? Phillips Sonicare Electric Toothbrush Replacement Heads are definitely an example of overpackaging.

Why is this package so big? Cut down on the packaging, Phillips, you're wasting precious resources and making the end product more expensive for your customers. We definitely don't enjoy paying over $15.00 per toothbrush head and as you keep raising the price, more and more customers will just decide that your product is not worth it.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Forever 21's Disposable Leggings

Technically, this is not overpackaging, but since it adds to the planet's garbage situation, I'm putting it in my blog. When I was shopping in Vancouver during Boxing Week, I purchased a few pairs of Forever 21 leggings. They were not on sale, but cheap ($6.90 plus tax each in Canadian dollars). I didn't expect them to be stellar, but just kind of basic, something that would last me a while. The last two pairs I had from Forever 21 weren't fantastic, but they lasted a while and for the price were not that bad.

I wore one of the new pairs of leggings the next day while I was out shopping. Not only was I disappointed that the leggings kept falling down because their waistband elastic was crappy, but towards the end of the day, I looked down and on one leg, there was a line of tiny holes all the way up the seam of the leggings! One wear and they were ruined.

I took them into Forever 21 the next day to return them, as they were clearly defective. I mean the sign in the store didn't say "disposable leggings" or "wear them once then throw them out- never do laundry again." I brought the other two pairs of leggings with me as I figured that they would be just as defective and disappointing and I was not willing to take a chance on them.

The store clerk told me point blank that they don't do returns at Forever 21, so I could have a store credit. Excuse me?! So, Forever 21 sells defective merchandise and then you're expected to buy something else shitty from them with a store credit? I don't think so. I pointed out to the clerk that since the leggings were defective and not regular merchandise, any store policies would not apply (read the Sale of Goods Act, people!). She looked surprised, as if no one had ever demanded a full refund before. She told me that sometimes the leggings get holes in them when you pull them up. So how exactly are you supposed get leggings on if you don't pull them up, telekinesis? Since I was not buying this bullshit, she went to find her manager.

My husband and I were standing there for a while, during which time, I snapped a hasty picture of the ruined single use leggings. It's not the greatest picture, but does show some of the many holes along the seam of one leg.

This is just a small sampling of the holes that went all the way down the seam of my right leg, but not my left.
She returned and said she would give me a refund in cash, since they had no way of putting the sum back onto my credit card (yeah, so I guess everyone else with this defective disposable shit just accepts the store credit?). I took the cash and refused her offer to find something else in this temple of garbage. No thank you.

So, if you ever end up with defective merchandise, take it back and make companies produce better items that won't end up in the landfill immediately. Demand your money back. Defective merchandise is not the same as regular merchandise and can never be treated the same under store policies if they have restrictive return policies. If we don't speak up as consumers, companies are just going to continue producing and selling us garbage.

Single use leggings are a waste and I refuse to let companies like Forever 21 get away with this.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Free Orville Redenbacher's New Caramel & White Cheddar Popcorn from Influenster Comes With Inflated Packaging

On Friday, I received a very large cardboard box from the post carrier. I was confused as to what it was, until I turned it over and saw the Orville Redenbacher's logo on the other side. I knew that Influenster was sending me something from Orville Redenbacher's for free to review on their app, so from the size of the box (over one foot long, at least eight inches wide, and several inches deep), I thought there must be more than one product that I would be reviewing.

What could be in this giant cardboard box?
But there wasn't. When I opened the large cardboard box, there was just one foil bag of Orville Redenbacher's new Caramel & White Cheddar Popcorn and a card.

This was all that I found in the box.

That's a lot of extra room in the box for this one bag of popcorn and card.

I was heartened to see it was a flavour combination that I could get into, caramel and white cheddar, but then I felt the bag. It was mostly empty. I know people here might interject about "slack fill" to prevent crushing of the popcorn in transit, but surely 3/5 - 4/5 of the bag doesn't need to be empty to preserve the integrity of the popcorn. Why not just make the bag smaller and use less resources in its manufacture?

A bag of Caramel & White Cheddar popcorn.

The bag looked very big, so it seemed like there would be a lot of popcorn inside.

But there was actually a lot of empty bag.

This is what I found when I actually opened the bag. It looked almost empty.

Now, onto the popcorn itself. It was well preserved in transit, no doubt due to its huge armored box and the excessive slack fill. The popcorn was very fresh. It tasted like caramel corn from a country fair mixed with Smart Food, this kind of white cheddar popcorn snack that I remember from my youth. The sweet and salty combination was pleasant. And when I didn't feel salty or didn't feel sweet, I could just pick one or the other out (they're just mixed half and half in the bag together). My husband is not a big fan of mixed sweet and salty snacks and he even liked it, so that's quite a compliment because he's picky.

Caramel corn is mixed equally with white cheddar popcorn.

If you're a fan of salty and sweet combo snacks and you like popcorn, you'll probably like this.

So, the product itself tasted really good to me, but the packaging has a ways to go. It seems wasteful to me. I am not a fan of overpackaging, so the snack's tastiness was somewhat tainted by this. All the same, I'm glad to have been given this item to review and to add my two cents.

*** I received this product for free from Orville Redenbacher's Canada via Influenster, but opinions expressed in this post are my own.*** #OrvilleCWC @OrvilleCanada +Influenster

Friday, 16 December 2016

Overpackaged Oreos

I was stunned the other day when I saw how many components go into an Oreo package now. When I was a child they had some cardboard and a plastic covered papery bag and that was it. I would have thought that packaging would have decreased over the intervening 30 years, but it has in fact increased. What a disappointment (and Oreos don't taste as good as they used to either- what a pity).

To their credit, there's not a lot of spare space in the bag or tray.
Oreos are now housed in a plastic tray, with cardboard layered under it (I have no idea why), and then a plastic bag around it.

The plastic bag, houses a plastic tray.

When the plastic tray is removed, one finds a slab of cardboard under it. Why is this needed?

This is a lot of packaging for cookies. Can't the company reduce the packaging somehow without compromising the integrity of the cookies?
Surely there's a simpler and less wasteful way of packaging a bag of cookies. The current packaging for Oreos by Nabisco (owned by Mondelez) uses more resources than are needed. This is another example of overpackaging.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Titanic Toothpaste Tube Housing is a Waste

Some products do not come in boxes. They are housed in their own package from which they are used and then a safety seal is placed over the opening of them to show that they have not been opened or used. Some examples would include certain brands of lipstick, eyeliner, mouthwash, drinks, etc. I am mystified as to why this isn't done with toothpaste.

My husband brought home two different types of toothpaste the other day. One was Sensodyne Multi-Action. The other was Crest 3D White Luxe. When we opened the boxes that housed the tubes of toothpaste, we were amazed by how much empty space there was inside the box.

When placing the tubes of toothpaste by the boxes that they were packaged in, one can see how much further waste is being created. Not only is the box a waste to begin with, but the larger than necessary box is further waste (and look at how colourful and fancy the boxes are, they're not just plain cardboard, so, again further resources wasted).  No one is going to reuse a toothpaste box, so this colourful marvel is going straight into the recycling box (at least it is recyclable), never to be used again.

Sensodyne Multi-Action:

This box is way too long for the tube of toothwaste. What a waste.

Crest 3D White Luxe:

This box isn't as long, but it's longer than necessary and wider than necessary.

I've read that there's an exception in packaging rules that allow manufacturers to package items that they think are vulnerable to shoplifting in larger than necessary packages, so perhaps that's how these manufacturers are justifying their very large and unnecessary boxes around tubes of toothpaste. I doubt toothpaste is a hot item for shoplifting, so this explanation doesn't work for me. I don't understand why a safety seal, either sticker or a bit of plastic around the neck wouldn't make a better, less wasteful packaging solution for tubes of toothpaste.

This is overpackaging.