eco ramblings

a dialogue with an Eco Patriot

Keep It Simple with Signs

Posted by Luke on September 11, 2010

How do people tell the difference between compostable and non-compostable products when they are trying to figure out which bin to throw something in?  They look and feel virtually the same.  If the products aren’t embossed or printed with the word “compostable”  on them, people can’t tell.  And even if “compostable” is embossed, there’s no guarantee that the products meet compostability certification.

For some time now, I’ve been involved in this seemingly never-ending debate about establishing labeling guidelines for compostable products.  Some people have suggested that products should have a green stripe or band.  I haven’t come around on that idea.  Until someone can convince me otherwise, it’s not cost-effective, can’t be done on all product shapes and materials, and will ultimately drive up product costs while simultaneously lowering composting rates (composting programs are more successful when packaging/products are included).  Also, it doesn’t solve the problem of companies falsely claiming that their products are compostable.  That’s where laws help…

The State of California is trying to pass a bill to make it illegal for companies to claim compostability if their products don’t meet ASTM standards.  HALLELUIAH!  We’re finally starting to make some  progress.  Companies will be held accountable for their claims.  No one wants to answer to Arnold.  Actually, I take that back,

Getting back to figuring out what is compostable and what isn’t, I came across a great idea about using 3-D signs to help out consumers.  In his post, Dinesh Thirupuvanam talks about the effectiveness of using simple, visual displays to help improve waste diversion.  One route is to have a poster with pictures of the products that should be composted, but a much more effective route is to create a 3-dimensional sign in which customers see the products in real life and know what bin to put them it.  I’m a visual person, so this is a great solution for me, much better than a normal, flat poster.  What a simple, yet effective solution.

If only these could be produced on a larger scale… Shoot me an email (lvernon at ecoproducts.com) if you think you can produce these signs on a large scale for Eco-Products.  I’d love to be able to give them to our customers.

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3 Responses to “Keep It Simple with Signs”

  1. Denise Sample said

    Luke,

    Very interesting and right on !! Also read the article in Inc on Steve Savage. So I went and took a look at his Eco warehouse business pages and very cool except for one thing. They are featuring under household “Green Genius” biodegradable trash bags, and this company is lobbying hard for Governor Swartzneger to veto Senate bill 1454 down here in California. These people claim to have a magic formula where their product breaks down in landfills. But no proof at all.

    Shouldn’t Steve and his people take a little closer look at these types of product claims as selling them only taints those of you who do the right thing in a negative manner….

    Sincerely
    Denise

    • Luke said

      Denise,

      Glad you saw the article in Inc. magazine. Steve and I talked about the Green Genius bags last night. Thanks for making us aware of their lobbying efforts. He doesn’t want to support a company who opposes legislation like that. As a result, his new company (National Eco Wholesale) is going to discontinue distribution of Green Genius’ products. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  2. dinesh said

    Hey Luke – Thanks for the kind words.

    If you do hear from anyone who can do large-scale manufacturing of these types of signs I’d love to hear about that as well!

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