Do you ever feel like the world is out to conspire against your zero waste ambitions? (Because it absolutely is, and here’s why.)
One way of feeling less helpless in the unending fight against plastic is to reach out to people in a position of power and let them know your thoughts by sending a letter. Sending a zero waste feedback letter alone may not get anything changed, but hey: if you get enough people to do so, you may have some momentum. Even making companies aware that people are interested in no-waste solutions can be really valuable.
To make it really easy, I’ve included a sample letter here which allows you to easily change the verbage to fit the situation/product you’re talking about.
The sample letter
I absolutely love your (product) and have been a customer for many years. I really appreciate your commitment to (write something nice!).
I’m also avidly pursuing zero waste which means refusing all single-use products and diverting all trash from the landfill. I’m doing this because a lot of plastic ends up floating in our oceans, polluting our lands, or just sitting around in landfills for far longer than it was ever used.
Unfortunately, your product does not conform with my zero waste expectations because (explain the problem).
I would love to feel good about repurchasing this product. Might I suggest (2-3 options for alternative packaging)?
I really appreciate your consideration on this issue and hope to hear back from you.
I’ve used this letter several times. Some times I’ve gotten an excited, positive reply that they’ll send it forward. Other times I’ve received polite, disinterested replies. Either way, I’ll keep plugging along in the hopes that it’ll eventually make a difference.
I really think it will… eventually.
Remember: one latter may not be enough. Reach out again if you hear nothing beyond the canned initial response. And even if the company doesn’t make a change, you can always vote with your money and find an alternative!
How can I get more people involved?
Realistically, it’s very easy for large companies to ignore the voice of just one consumer. Where zero waste feedback letters become really powerful is when a larger group of people share similar opinions.
I have a few ideas on how to move the zero waste feedback letter beyond just yourself:
If the company is local, consider reaching out on local Facebook groups. If you have a local zero waste community, that’s a great place. Otherwise other community groups that may be ecologically-motivated are good targets too. Nextdoor may also be a good option for reaching more folks nearby. Create a simple post with a 1-2 sentence intro about the issue, the sample letter, and how to send it to the company. Make it easy.
If the company is larger, a petition on change.org may do the trick. This allows you to potentially reach a larger audience. Share it in larger zero waste Facebook groups with the link and suggested action if that’s allowed within the group.
So where do I actually send this stuff?
Most companies have a contact form on their website for feedback. Simply copy and paste the letter with the pertinent details changed, add your contact details, and wait patiently for a reply. (I personally prefer email to the phone number listed on packaging as there’s a virtual paper trail tracking your opinion. You never can tell with a phone call.)
Submitting through the contact form will be the quickest way to get this done. But the better option is to send it directly to a real person, if possible.
To find a real person, I like to search their staff directories (lots of smaller companies have these) or reach out to the company on Twitter. If I send them a DM asking for an exact point of contact, there’s a decent chance you’ll actually get a useful reply. If you have a blog or social media presence, their PR contact is also not a bad person to reach out to.
Either way, sending a zero waste feedback letter can be a great way to flag to companies that people really are interested in positive, environmentally-friendly change.
Plus – with this letter – it should take you no time at all to make your opinion heard!
Have you ever sent a zero waste feedback letter to a company? If not, what are you waiting for? Who will you be sending this letter off to first?