Sunday, November 29, 2009

When green products have wasteful packaging

Eco gifts. Love 'em or hate 'em (and how could anyone truly hate a gift that helps keep our planet healthy?), they're here to stay. Last year I gave reusable shopping bags, some simple, some fancy. This year, I'm still looking for the perfect inexpensive eco-gift for my extended family and friends.

Mother Nature Network has an unusual set of gift suggestions in their Quirky Gift Guide. I seriously like these bootie slippers, but they're a little pricey for my gift budget. My favorite, however, is this wallet. If Amigo needed a new wallet, this cute bifold made from ties and suits would be perfect.

I've been thinking of giving anti-static dryer balls as a stocking stuffer. They're inexpensive, long-lasting, useful, creative - all in all, a good gift for the family members who don't need Random Stuff in their Stockings. But wait: look at this wasteful packaging! Much bigger than the product itself, plastic galore, impossible to open without scissors, yada yada yada. In other words, how could such a good product come in such a terrible package?!

I contemplated returning it. Really. In the balance, is it worthwhile? Thinking long term, these simple anti-static balls will keep a year's worth of fabric softener chemicals out of the water supply, save $$ by removing the product from grocery lists, and help take good care of clothing in the process. That's my dilemma: does the good outweigh the bad?

Readers, what do you think? How do you balance the eco-good with the eco-bad? The green with the greenwashing? The green and frugal product in the plastic package?

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5 Comments:

Blogger Earth Muffin said...

If the people on the receiving end of these gifts recycle, then it is worth it. We use those dryer balls too and you're right, the packaging is ridiculous. (Wouldn't it be great if they were packaged in a lingerie or clothespin bag, something that you could also use for your laundry needs?) However, we recycle the plastic and the cardboard info inside, so nothing is going into the trash. My question is...what to do with the balls when they are past their prime? Can they be recycled? Do you know?

11/29/2009 9:43 AM  
Blogger Lisa Sharp said...

Those are also made of PVC which will get in your clothes when heated. Here are some good eco ones-
http://www.nelliesallnatural.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=&products_id=18

or even greener:
http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=34807394&ref=sr_gallery_1&&ga_search_query=wool+dryer+balls&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_page=2&includes[]=tags&includes[]=title

11/29/2009 12:22 PM  
Blogger Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

For a lot less you can make wool dryer balls--I'm doing this very thing for my relatives and it's not that big a thing. I'll forward you the site I got directions off of. Yes, there are "green gifts" and then green gifts. The Eco Women are addressing that very thought!

11/29/2009 2:41 PM  
Blogger CaJoh said...

Kind of reminds me of Hybrid cars. I hear that it takes more pollution to build one than it saves driving it as compared to a gasoline car. I just hope that people try to figure out that if they are going to go green, that they need to go all the way.

11/29/2009 9:04 PM  
Anonymous Becky said...

You have got to check out www.WoolDryerBalls.com! I bought my wool dryer balls from her over a year ago (and just bought some more for family and freinds as gifts!). She packages them in a reusable cloth bag (no waste here!) and I have the SAME 6 balls in my dryer for over a year now! We LOVE them so much as they have saved us money by cutting drying time and we no longer use softeners at all.

11/29/2009 10:35 PM  

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