Over-packaging annoys consumers, sometimes ‘above and beyond’

Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor

July 15, 2015

When it comes to sustainability, “atrocious” over-packaging has some U.S. consumers revolting because of its wastefulness but they also get quite creative in finding other ways to reuse empty packages.

In our exclusive video series in partnership with Watch Me Think USA, we asked American shoppers to share their feelings on sustainability, reusability and waste—and how this impacts the products and packages they buy. The video debuted at SustPack 2015 (Mar. 31-Apr. 2; Orlando, FL), where speaker Cara Cosentino, U.S. Thinker manager and client counselor at Watch Me Think, revealed these consumer insights to receptive conference attendees.

When it comes to reusability, many Thinkers recognized glass packages as a great item to reuse. Plastic containers were often frowned upon, but some people still found ways to give them a second life.

One woman pointed to her stash of reusable containers, saying, “You can see all these mason jars and glass jars that I’m using. I repurpose glass a lot.”

“I will get the glass jars for on-the-go because I can reuse these in so many different ways in our craft room and in the kitchen,” says one mom.

“When I’m at the store, I try to buy in bulk a lot,” says another woman. “So I’ll buy a big huge bag of rice, and separate it and put it in jars.”

“I buy meat in containers like this [a reclosable plastic tub] solely because I can reuse it for left-overs or my kids’ lunches,” says this mom, “and that reduces our footprint.”

But the ladies get a little animated when asked about wasteful packaging.

“Above and beyond, toys! The waste that comes when you buy a toy!” says one mom. “You have this tiny little action figure, this massive amount of wasted packaging. So I would purposefully buy a toy that minimalized the packaging because it’s just atrocious.”

“I wish I could say I don’t buy things if they seem wasteful. I think if I didn’t like the price and the convenience of these apples, I wouldn’t buy them because there’s so much fricking plastic that I’m buying that it bums me out,” says this woman, holding up a 12-pack thermoformed clamshell.

Another female consumer holds up a carton and says, “I bought some Ibuprofen at the store the other day. I don’t understand why you need this box here. Why can’t I just buy this [the bottle]? That seems like total waste to me.”

Watch the five-minute video above to see what else these Thinkers say about reusability and waste, as well as what sustainable packaging means to them.

Also, click here to read what Kelly Lahvic, research and outreach associate for the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, thought of the consumer insights from this Watch Me Think video after seeing it at the SustPack 2015 conference.

About the Author(s)

Lisa McTigue Pierce

Executive Editor, Packaging Digest

Lisa McTigue Pierce is Executive Editor of Packaging Digest. She’s been a packaging media journalist since 1982 and tracks emerging trends, new technologies, and best practices across a spectrum of markets for the publication’s global community. Reach her at [email protected] or 630-272-1774.

Sign up for the Packaging Digest News & Insights newsletter.

You May Also Like