Becoming a Conscientious Consumer: Start Writing Emails

Once you start trying to put your money where your mouth is, you’ll find that it’s often infuriatingly hard to find the information you need. Where does this brand source their materials from? Does that product come in recyclable packaging? Is there a way to return containers to a certain company so that they reuse the materials?

It can feel overwhelming, but the solution is surprisingly simple. Just write the brand you’re curious about with a list of your questions, and explain — in just a sentence or two — why it matters to you. Brands have a responsibility to their customers, and they actually spend a lot of time and money trying to find out exactly what matters to consumers. When you write them, you’re doing that job for them.

So, for instance, I recently wanted to find out whether Deciem has a reuse/recycle program available. They already package most of their products in glass containers (rather than plastic), so I wanted to find out if I could bring those containers back for recycling or reuse after I was done with them. So I went to their website and sent them a quick message.

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Within a couple of days, I had a response: no, they sadly don’t have a recycling program, but they’ll pass the suggestion on to their team. While I doubt a single email will actually spur any change, of course, if many consumers write them making it clear that sustainable packaging matters to them, they’re more likely to make a switch.

It’s a pretty simple thing to do, but I find that a lot of people I know have never sent similar feedback or questions to the companies they support. They might look on the company’s website for an FAQ that answers the question, but they stop there — just short of telling the company what matters to consumers.

Next time you wish your favourite brand used less packaging or had more sustainable practices, shoot them a “hey gurl heeeeey” and see what the response is. It takes all of two seconds, and it just might surprise you — and even if not, it’s feedback that might nudge them in a positive direction.

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