Solving a problem you created in the first place.

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Ouch.

Social media has been ablaze with comments about the Coles plastic bag double u-turn. 

Burberry burning 28 million GPB of clothes and perfume.

You can bet there's another twitter meltdown happening right now.

 

On one hand, we are happy that we are finally talking about it.

On the other, we know we need a better way to solve such a systemic problem.

 

Last year Hatched ran a workshop to explore the creation of a denim recycling system.

One of the participants had recently re-uniformed all its 10,000+ staff.  

They were advised on the most effective way to dispose of hundreds of tonnes of clothing.

The solution, to dig a huge ditch and burn it.  

True story.

 

Yesterday, one of the Hatched team reluctantly walked into a Coles supermarket. 

With a huge basket hanging from their shoulder.  

They were repeatedly asked if they wanted a plastic bag.

After saying no, they even put the groceries in the plastic bag.

Not once, but twice.

 

Just look at fast fashion, fast groceries, fast bottled water.

What have they done over the last couple of decades? 

Make lots of money, as fast and efficiently as possible.

To do that, they changed our behaviour.

We started drinking bottled water instead of bringing our own.

We used endless amounts of plastic grocery bags.

We bought clothes, one after the other, after the other, until our wardrobes burst.

So the companies starting burning clothes we didn’t buy.

Our sea started to fill up with bottle water we drunk and threw away.

Our land started to fill up with the plastic bags we used just once.

And, we didn’t really ever want any of it.

We certainly didn’t ever need any of it.

Though amazing marketing, product placement and store design we thought we did. 

We now realise we ****** up.

 

So how do you unwind it? 

Well, first of all, we all need to decide as consumers we want to change.

This is happening, just not everywhere.

Then, companies need to lead the charge.

They can’t just do this just for good PR.

They need to change the behaviour they created in the first place.

They need to unwind the entire system.

They need to use the evil tactics that tricked the majority of us, for good.

Educate us on how to make the change - use marketing for good.

Sell us solutions we’ll love – use your product and design for good

Make buying good, easy – use your process optimisation for good.

Change store designs and product placement - use your visual merchanting to sell good stuff.

Run your business better – use your governance and leadership for good. 

 

Not using plastic bags, wasn’t really about not offering plastic bags

It was about providing us with viable alternatives

It was about creating a whole new customer experience to delight and empower us.

It was about changing the entire checkout process

It was about empowering and training staff to help us make the transition

It was about using stories, marketing and advertising for education not selling more stuff.

It was also about getting out of our way.

If they did this.

We wouldn’t be still using plastic bags but paying 15c for them.