Corporate responsibility to advertise sustainability.

I’ve just had a little dummy spit! Watching commercial TV (that’s not all that common at our place), I have just seen an ad by Harris Scarfe where the message is clearly promoted that when something is a bit too hard to clean, a bit grubby, needs a repair, maybe you don’t like it anymore or for some other reason, you just chuck it in the land fill bin (complete with a plastic bin liner!). The example in this ad that really got me steamed was the steel frying pan that needed a little bit of elbow grease as it has lost its sparkle, was just tossed into the bin. I think it is time all advertising should be required to be responsible in the presentation of their message to ensure they promote responsible, sustainable options for purchasing, using and disposal of both the packaging and any items that are past their prime.

Australia is in the top five of rubbish creators in the world, lets knock that on the head. Not a stat to be proud of.

It would not take much effort to adapt advertising to trigger thoughts like ‘take it to the op-shop’, encourage reduce, reuse and recycle positively and if they really want to take some responsibility, accept items back and re-distribute them into community organisations. Greenpeace have some wonderful tips on living more sustainably, check them out here.

Reduce Reuse Recycle

It is really important to trigger a change of thinking in people and marketing has  significant opportunity of power in doing this. Unfortunately, over the years the message sold has created some pretty severe environmental issues and high carbon footprints by promoting the disposable lifestyle many live by.

Plastic water bottles, disposable single use plastic, and packaging are making a huge impact on the environment and it cannot continue as it is not sustainable. Communities are now having to deal with how we deal with things like this.

landfill_compactor_fr_closeIt shouldn’t be too hard, people just need to be educated by seeing examples and advertising is a great way to do this. Things like showing a donation box that things go into rather than the landfill bin, use a compost bin or worm farm for food scraps to go in and minimising  packaging.

Which ads rile you with their lack of sustainable responsibility?

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13 Responses to Corporate responsibility to advertise sustainability.

  1. rhinophile says:

    I feel your pain! Just yesterday I was talking with a friend about ‘awakening’ from behavior that previously seemed okay. The kind of advertisements you discuss here do not support us in changing habits. The kind that bother me are clothing advertisements where people are shown enjoying their latest purchases. We don’t see clothes being thrown out, however it is assumed that you wouldn’t want to be wearing last seasons clothes. This kind of ad reminds me of how it was once acceptable to advertise people smoking in this similar lighthearted manner.

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  2. Francesca says:

    Good to have a spit Maree. Love the triangle, the Buyerarchy of Needs and must print one off for the grandies to stick with their food triangles. All ads rile me and , although I manage to avoid them on the Telly by watching ABC, I am very fond of SBS on demand and some sneak into my consciousness along with junk mail.
    About op shops. Many op shops now are quite choosy as some spend a fortune each month dumping stuff and paying tip fees for junk.Some op shops now go through your things and are quite fussy. My regime involves the following. Clean plastic gets stored in the laundry in a bag and is taken to the Coles plastic recycling bin to be recycled. Our glass, cans and other containers go in the recycling bin. Paper gets stored in a fire box for open fires. In summer, it is shredded into the compost for the essential carbon layer. ( Newspaper inks are soy based) . Most of our news is now read online so I get newspaper from my mother- such a valuable piece of waste it is. Usable jars are kept for preserves, the larger ones go to my friends who keep bees. I swap eggs for honey or anything else. Last week a friend donated her antique fish knives and forks to me- she will get free eggs for ever i love them so much.
    All food scraps are either given to the chooks or go in the compost. I have five compost bins in various states of decomposition. My kids save their discarded bread and pasta for the chooks too.
    All leaves go in the compost. Weeds can be added if drowned first so rid them of viable seed.
    My cookbooks come from either Savers ( a giant recycle store) or the Library although I did a new buy one recently. Like wise, many of my clothes come from Savers but are supplemented with a few new things each season. Clothes also get returned to savers. Good old cloth make excellent cleaning rags. An old towel wrapped around the base of a broom makes a very effective mop.
    If I have usable stuff I no longer need, I stick it out on the road and it is usually gone within a few hours. The other way to share stuff is to join a local ‘Buy, Swap and Sell’ forum or local ‘Freebies’ forum. These are really a great way to move stuff. My friends recently picked up a beautiful blue leather lounge suite for free- just needed the loan of a big trailer.
    I still make plenty of rubbish but we try. Its a lifestyle thing.

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  3. foodnstuff says:

    Real dummy-spitting stuff! Will try and find a Harris Scarfe website and complain. Have shared your post to Facebook.

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  4. Sue says:

    Great post….I think we will just see more and more of it on TV as stores try to promote Christmas to the consumer and make people feel they need loads of stuff that are completely unnecessary … the masses of cheap plastic imported toys are what really does my head in.

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  5. Glenda says:

    Maree, I remember years ago when I went to NY, I was amazed at all rubbish that was created, particularly by takeaway food containers and coffee cups. At the time these were relatively rare in Perth. If you wanted a coffee, you sat down and drank it from a china cup and if you wanted fast food you got it in a paper bad. Not any more. Instead of NY getting better we have got worse.

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    • fergie51 says:

      I think it has just about reached the tipping point and changes will have to happen. I remember taking a saucepan to the local Chinese Take away to bring our order home in!

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  6. It is sometimes an uphill battle! It was much easier in the UK to recycle/upcycle/swap/borrow that it is here in Greece. We do, at least, have organised glass recycling which I insist we follow – though I used to I find people putting empty wine bottles in the trash, which made me livid. They know this, so those instances have now been reduced! I’m still vigilant. There is also a cultural thing here that wants new, clean, modern things. Imagine someone on a limited income whose unemployed daughter is having her first baby who scorns the loan of a baby stroller and secondhand clothing – all because they are used! I clothed my son when he was young in secondhand clothing from swap shops and garage sales and they were decent, well-made things. He still (in his late 20s) buys in charity shops. I also am a sucker for upcycling things; there are a large number of ideas on pinterest. I have a cupboard full of cloth culled from worn clothing, non-servisable table cloths, ends from upholstering, etc. These bits and bobs have become quilts, placemats, hot plate mats, cloth shopping bags, little quilts to separate my collection of nesting bowls to prevent them from chipping, and I am gathering information on how to make my own rag rug from all those jeans with rips and holes in the knees. I am also in agreement with Francesca about composting and my husband jokes that he wishes I didn’t keep all those jars! Love the buyerarchy image.

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    • fergie51 says:

      Hi, yes those of us who think like this all seem to follow the same processes. I’m longing of the day when advertising companies makes some responsible choices and present these options in what they release to the universe! I am delighted to say our daughter is completely happy to have accepted and is using as much second hand ‘stuff’ as she can for her little one. We went to the op shop together the other day and picked up some great toys for me to have as some of his his entertainment when he is with us. So proud that she has taken this on board, and the food she makes for him, well! Quinoa and spinach patties, roasted veggies, homemade yoghurt, sugar free banana bread and so much more. Love it!

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  7. I love the Buyerarchy of Needs. We selectively avoid marketing influences… only a couple of magazines online via Sydney library e-collection, no junk mail, no newspapers and very little TV and mainly SBS & ABC as a natural preference. We buy new as little as possible and recycle as much as possible similar to you & Francesca, even more so now but we made a start years ago. My message is everyone can start somewhere and take it further. I’m still battling with some of the family Christmas gift expectations but next year I’m doing homemade, upcycled etc whether they’re onboard or not. I’m pleased your DIL and grandson see the benefit and fun of secondhand & homemade.
    I choose not to focus on what I feel are unsympathetic messages but subscribe to onboard bloggers & groups like 1 Million Women, Eat Local Grown, Food Matter, Be an Unf*cker etc and share their info.

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