It was an organic indictment, grown up naturally around the tendency to overstate positive benefits and cash in on the trend that forms the mutually inclusive, double-fisted appeal of green. No one noticed until they came for Cheerios, and even though the floodgates reopen every now and then, no one’s yet asking what’s in all those meds everyone’s taking.
Now, via, our own Federal Trade Commission has charged a couple of companies with making false claims about touting the biodegradable nature of their products. Imagine that; almost like there was a government watchdog with the power to regulate things under its control.
Just beneath the question as to whether Moist Wipes are, in fact, biodegradable, lies the question as to whether Moist Wipes can be biodegradable. They (said cleanliness delivery system) come out of a plastic bottle; they’re already moist; you can wipe (away) stuff with them, inferring, I guess, that 1) the stuff goes somewhere and 2) a residue of demonstrable cleanliness remains. How does any of this come about? In what time frame should we consider how long any of the cds might stick around or take to go away by itself? Bonus: where will it go?
Underlying the growing concept of sustainability and various definitions of what it is, the list of conditions by which people enter into what has always been (though we have ignored it) the social contract of buying stuff will begin to be shaped by how it arrived and where will it go after use. Really, this is basic stuff. The supermarket is not a magic warehouse – things don’t just appear there. The constituent parts come from some place, often far away, and require assembly and perhaps others embellishments we should find objectionable. But, importantly, we can leverage these predilections to change more-elemental factors that determine what we see on the shelves.
Paying the full price means just that, and as we tag our objections to what we buy, we can (by no means an inevitable turn) adjust upward what we consume. This means to you what it means; your freedom is intact, we’re just attaching the whole story to what it means to be free. The economics of sustainability will be as much about pricing in the real costs – and becoming aware of them – as it is about innovative design.