Ever since I watched this Ted speech on how four million plastic cups used on airplanes are thrown away each day (about 1:00 in – none of them are recycled!), I’ve been racking my brain for a solution. Although I haven’t come up with any good answers (other than for them to start recycling the damn things), I’ve started to notice more inefficiencies in food packaging.
I recently read Neil Strauss’ “Don’t Try This At Home,” a book about Dave Navarro (I’ll write a short review on this later). In one of the chapters, Navarro says how Carmen Electra always left half-full soda cans around the house and they had a tendency to get knocked over. When I read this, I stopped and was in disbelief that I’d never really noticed how cans, unlike bottles, don’t have a way to reseal. After all those beer cans my roommates had spilled in college… there has to be a better way! With a quick Google search, I found the invention that solved this problem (see pic), but wondered why it hasn’t been implemented.
Then today, I opened up a sealed pouch of roast beef. The packaging keeps it air-tight, so it’s fresh. The problem is that you have to transfer it to a Ziploc bag if you don’t use all the meat because the pouch it comes in doesn’t reseal. Why the hell would they do this? I can understand the freshness aspect, but you have to throw away the plastic pouch immediately after it’s been opened. Is it because it’s easier for packagers to do things this way? What’s the point of making things harder on your customers?
There is no point, I suppose. Not many people care enough to correct these trivial little problems because we’ve all grown accustomed to them. But if you opened up a bottle of soda and lost the screw-on cap, you’d be a little freaked out. If you opened up a package of turkey slices, you’d be ticked if the company didn’t offer you a way to reseal the package it came in.
Redefine your customers’ expectations. Make things better for them, not just your company.