Why aren’t mega-corporations worried about their image

If I owned a business, however small, I would HATE to see my bags/covers/containers defaced. Wouldn’t it be horrible to spend all that time and money on designed a beautiful ‘container’, and making it (out of paper, or plastic or wood or whatever) for it to be muddied? Defaced? Defiled? Having to mark up prices to my lovely customers, so that I could cover the costs of packaging?

A litter pile I walk past weekly.
A litter pile I walk past weekly.

Wouldn’t my image suffer every time someone saw my businesses name in a trash heap? In a little pile in a garden bed?  Lying on train tracks? Why don’t companies care?  Why don’t Coke and McDonalds and SO MANY OTHERS care that they are showing their dead, empty, lifeless product in muddy, grotty, run down places? Seeing a dingy fries packet or bottle of soft drink doesn’t make me think ‘mmmm, I’d love me some of that!’  It just makes me cringe.  Cringe at the grot.  Cringe at the people who littered. But I just don’t get it – isn’t this the WORST advertising ever? Sure, they put Ronald McDonald on the back of things, showing him slam dunking his packaging into a bin, but it’s not inspiring enough, evidently!

Dont litter icon
Dont litter icon

I know any publicity is good publicity, but how come governments (or consumers) saying that this isn’t good enough?   I mean, it’s not guess who’s causing the waste – it’s the companies making the products. Now, changing tack for a minute, if you sit down on the bus, and beside you there’s a coat.  Something someone has left behind, most caring rational people’s reaction would be to try and find the owner.  Ask around – work out who just vacated the seat.  It’s in our nature to ‘put things right’. So, with that in mind, why aren’t we picking up a piece of labelled, branded container, and thinking ‘who’s is this’?  Or are we such a single use society that everything we get must be ours for keeps (unless we pay some deposit to secure the return – like towels or sheets at a hostel). I imagine trash crusaders, sorting their collections into mega corporations, and politely (or perhaps not so politely) depositing them at the headquarters, asking for compensation.  For the time taken to clean up the space? I know I’m dreaming of a utopia world, but it just seems so logical to me to find out who owns the trash and hold them accountable.

What do you think?

6 Replies to “Why aren’t mega-corporations worried about their image”

  1. Given how hard the soft drink companies have fought, and nearly been successful in stopping, a refund on drink containers, I can see they’d fight a levy on their rubbish. They’d say, and many would agree, that it is the users fault not the producer. I think there should be a levy imposed that goes to council rubbish cleanup.

    1. I heard something about the drink container refund (again) in Sydney, I really hope whomever can persevere against strong multi nationals. It’s such a shame that business can run the world, it sometimes is NOT for the better, damn free market economy!!

  2. Oh, how I hate litter! And our society that thinks disposable products are OK. If only we would refuse to buy them, the corporations would have to change their approach. I think the only ways to accomplish that are by making it very easy and cheap for customers to use reusable products, and social pressure to change.

    1. I was heartened to see on a Facebook group I’ve recently joined on zero waste, that someone has been noticing more glass milk bottles in TV shows. The trend towards a more rational waste profile.

      On the other hand, I can see why it’s been such a boom – convenience. Minimal weight. But damn, it makes a mess!

  3. I’m old enough to remember as a little girl that our milk was delivered to the door in bottles and the empties were collected with the next day’s delivery. I can even remember ALL our groceries being packed into brown paper bags at the supermarket. It seems like we’ve gone in reverse as a society.

    There’s some kind of name for accounting procedures that basically make businesses accountable for their own waste but putting it into their balance sheets. I think it’s called ‘MFCA’ – Material Flow Cost Accounting. I love the idea and would love to see it brought in. Some companies are using a modified form of it – allowing you to return used runners free of charge in the US to have them recycled.

    1. I recall the glass milk bottles, but I’ve never seen the brown paper bags, except in US TV shows…

      Oh my – I need to read more about this MFCA, I’ve not heard about it!

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