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Shopper disappointed after opening up allegedly eco-friendly product: 'They were shipped in a box with bubble wrap'

"I bought a 20 pack … to reduce the plastic I use."

"I bought a 20 pack ... to reduce the plastic I use."

Photo Credit: iStock

For companies that want to sell eco-friendly products, it's not as simple as changing the design of the item itself. Every step of the manufacturing and delivery process, from gathering materials to the method of packaging, is part of the product's impact on the world. Unfortunately, many companies that advertise green products fall short of the mark.

What happened?

One Redditor wanted to make the switch to bamboo straws in order to reduce pollution and lower the amount of plastic waste heading to landfills. However, what they received wasn't what they hoped for.

"I bought a 20 pack ... to reduce the plastic I use."
Photo Credit: Reddit
"I bought a 20 pack ... to reduce the plastic I use."
Photo Credit: Reddit

"I bought a 20 pack of bamboo straws to reduce the plastic I use," they complained in a post in the r/mildlyinfuriating community. "They were shipped in a box with bubble wrap. And each straw is wrapped with a piece of plastic that's as big as my hand."

For proof, they provided two photos. The first showed a bamboo straw packed diagonally in a large, square plastic envelope.

The second photo was a comparison of their hand and the straw package, which were very close in size.

Why does the packaging matter?

Plastic is one of the worst materials a product can be made from. Disposable, single-use plastics may be cheap up front, but because you have to buy the same things over and over, they cost more in the long run than a high-quality, reusable item.

At the same time, plastic pollutes the environment, filling it with microplastics. Items made from the material don't break down until 100 years or more have passed.

With all that in mind, it makes perfect sense to switch. But if each bamboo item comes wrapped in a plastic bag, then the product could be harming the environment as much as a package of straws does.

Another Redditor had a similar complaint when they ordered reusable metal straws.

🗣️ Which eco-friendly initiative would make you most likely to buy products from a clean beauty brand?

🔘 Using less plastic packaging 🗑️

🔘 Using more organic ingredients 🌿

🔘 Recycling empty containers 🫙

🔘 I don't buy clean beauty products 🚫

🗳️ Click your choice to see results and speak your mind

What could this company be thinking?

One Redditor pointed out that this could still be an improvement. 

"The reusable straw thing isn't about 'reducing plastic'; it's about [keeping] specific shapes from getting into the environment (like the picture of the turtle with the straw up its nose, and things like beer can rings similarly)," they said. "If you're looking to reduce 'plastic,' plenty of more impactful places to cut back plastic than straws."

In fact, while plastic straws have gotten a lot of press recently, they are far from the largest contributor to plastic trash in the ocean; that would be discarded fishing gear such as synthetic nets. Switching out plastic straws for bamboo ones, even in bags, could indeed reduce the product's impact on the environment — especially if the buyer uses each new straw more than once, lowering the total number of plastic items.

What can I do about plastic waste?

Switching to reusable products is still the way to go. A water bottle, metal razor, or silicone food container can make a shocking difference not only to the environment but also to your quality of life.

Also, shop around for companies that actually keep their products, packaging, and supply chains green.

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