The motto of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle,’ is taught to children at kindy, they get it. We have an incredible amount of waste coming out of homes that people need to change their ways. I find that children learn the waste education concepts easily, and it’s through them we hope to educate the ‘grown-ups.’ Adults have the ability to make grown-up decisions but they struggle when it comes to the point of purchase.
There are mountains of waste being buried in landfill, burned or shipped across the globe so that another country can deal with our problem. It’s a sad reality and to make real change we need to look at where we’ve gone wrong. The waste messages are not new, they’ve been around for years. However what most people don’t realise is that the most important word for waste is ‘REDUCE.’
Upsizing is a marketing tactic popular with large companies to make you, the consumer, feel like you’re getting a good deal. It encourages people to buy more product and larger serves. Upsizing works by making smaller sized serves comparatively expensive and then offering to ‘upsize’ to a larger quantity for a fraction more money. People tend to ‘upsize’ even when they don’t want so much because it seems like good value for money.
The main problem with upsizing is that it results in people buying and consuming more than they need. Firstly there is the health implications of consuming more than you need and secondly there is the waste left over.
Many fast food chains and cinema food stores offering ‘bundling,’ where individual food items are sold together as a ‘combo,’ or ‘meal deal.’ This works the same way as upsizing, where individual items are more expensive, which encourages the keen consumer to buy a bundle deal. This is highly profitable to the company as the extra items usually have a high profit margin such as fries, popcorn or soft drink. The main problem with bundling is that people consume more than they need or there is food waste.
Larger packets and bottles
To increase the sale of a product marketing has gradually increased the size of your regular items such as packets of chips and soft drinks. By offering an ‘upsized’ deal the consumer would purchase a larger size from now on, forgetting that it was once a deal. For example soft drink cans used to be a standard size of 250ml, they have crept up to a standard 375ml size. The most common purchased size is now a 600ml plastic bottle size.
Household hazardous waste
This is also the same with cleaning products, garden chemicals and paint where there are often upsized or two for one deals. When these items are not finished, the excess becomes household hazardous waste. The excess is often stored in a cupboard until it is eventually poured down the drain or thrown in the bin so someone else can deal with it. In reality it is nature that has to deal with it. The toxins can pollute the land and find their way to the water systems. If you have excess chemical waste take it to your local waste collection point where it will be processed with the least damage to the Earth. To find your local drop off point contact the waste officer from your local council.
What can you do
It can be hard to push through the marketing tactics that are targeted to ignite your feel good senses. We are trained to look for a ‘good deal,’ and these upsizing tactics deliver the goods. They encourage over-consumption as they exploit resources, ask for more money and then make you feel like you’ve grabbed a great deal.
Instead of looking at the bargain you’re getting look at the cost to your health for an upsized meal, the unused resources that go to waste and the little bits of money you save if you get exactly what you need.
When you go to the shops have in mind the right quantity that you need and stick to it. Upsizing has become our downfall as we now have cupboards filled with unused ‘stuff.’ Take pressure off the Earth’s resources and the fast filling landfills by becoming a thoughtful shopper.
Finding the balance of being a dedicated mum and busy working faerie