Thursday, July 3, 2008


Early one morning as I headed for my kitchen and grabbed a 3in1 instant coffeemix to have my pick-me-up of the day, I suddenly looked at the empty stickpacks. I wondered , "Are these plastic or aluminium?" I felt the need to categorized it, so that it will be easier for me to recycle. I even noticed other similar packaging that have the silver inner linings and plastic exterior such as my daughter's refillable pack of powdered milk. Also her chocolate fortified drink. Being so curious, I located the company N*****'s website of the popular product and I wrote to them. A few weeks later, I received their reply. Regarding the stickpacks, here what they wrote:
"3in1 stickpacks are not recyclable as we are using laminate
which is lightweight (reduction of waste) and they cannot be recycled
commercially due to unavailability
of commercially viable technology. "

So this means that not everything are recyclable and this 'laminate' kind of packaging will not go to the recycle mill. Therefore, they will end up straight to the landfill and the will deteriorate, like never!!! Wow! What a illuminating fact or should I say, 'a punch in the nose'! I feel so terrible that I am one of the millions who consume these beverages that are packed with the nonrecyclable material! And another thing, the company consumer service said the material is lightweight, so will it reduce waste? I don't think so!

However, company N assured that they practice the 3R rule ( Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). Here are the list that might be of help.

  • display boxes, cartons and cases used to pack coffee are using recycle material
    and are recyclable.
  • glass bottle for coffee, cap for coffee, tin can,
    aluminium can for drinks are recyclable.
  • To reduce waste, company N promote refillable coffee bag and reuse container .

    After discovering this new and very helpful information, I think that we consumers should be more aware of what we buy. The Malaysian recycle slogan "Think before you throw!" should be replaced with"Think before you buy!"

    Buying something?

    *Think! Consider the material used for packaging. Question yourself: "Can the packaging be recycled?"

    *Think! Consider the sustainability of the packaging. "Can I reuse the packaging for some other sustainable purpose?"

    *Think! Consider the carrying medium for your shopping.
    "Should I reuse plastic bags from previous shopping?"
    " Should I carry along my own shopping basket? "
    "Should I use reusable shopping bag?"

    Back to my stickpack dillemma. Think! Should I consume my 3in1 premix coffee that is oh-so-convenient but yet non-recyclable OR should I just go back to traditional making of coffee-that is to open the lid of the 7 years old glass jar coffee bottle, and to smell the fresh aroma of the beans before making it. That's my pick-me-up already....I'll chose the latter.

    All we need is a change of lifestyle. Take a step back and take a look on how you could change yours.

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