Pester Power

20 May

You may have seen my earlier post on reducing my use of plastic personally. However, that’s only half the story. Businesses and organisations have to play their role, too. If there’s no plastic-free option available, then you can’t choose it.

So I’ve been utilising the still-useful skill of letter writing to try and encourage companies I use to join me on this quest. Below are some letters (OK, emails) I have sent, and the responses I got.



A couple of times now I’ve looked for sanitary towels in Superdrug and not found any eco-friendly ones.

Like many people, I’m concerned about the overuse of plastic, especially non-recyclable plastic, and I’m also worried by studies showing potentially harmful chemicals in mainstream sanitary towels. Considering the range of more environmentally and body friendly towels available now (e.g. Kind, Natracare, Yoni, Gift) I hope you will stock some in the future.

Karen Murdarasi

(Health & Beauty Card xxxx xxxx xxxx)

Hi Karen,

Thanks for getting in touch with your feedback on the sanitary towels.

I really appreciate your thoughts on this and I will definitely be passing this on to the team for the future. It’s really helpful when our customers get in touch to share their ideas.

Please do let me know if you have anything else and I’ll get this looked into for you.

Have a lovely day.


The Superdrug Customer Team


I really like your peppermints, and I always carry a wee packet in my handbag. However, I wanted to ask you about the packaging.

I like the fact that the boxes are cardboard, and that’s one of the main reasons I choose Peppersmith, but is the plastic film biodegradable? If not, are you considering switching to a biodegradble type of plastic? I know that many other ‘green’ companies have done this for plastic film that can’t be recycled.


Karen Murdarasi

Hello Karen,

Thanks for getting in touch -we’re glad to know you are a Peppersmith fan.

Our plastic film isn’t biodegradable but you’ll be glad to know that this week we are getting rid of it all together. Super exciting. We needed the plastic film to make the packs tamperproof but we have redesigned our little cardboard boxes so that they now have a cardboard perforated seal on them. These will be launching on our website next week and you’ll be able to find them in stores from the next couple of weeks onwards.

Best wishes,



I don’t have my original message to Origins because I had to use an online contact form, but the gist of it was, “I really like your products, but have you thought about making the packaging more sustainable?”

Dear Karen,

Thank you for contacting Origins.

In response to your question, I wish to advise that Origins accepts packaging from all cosmetic companies – regardless of the brand – for recycling or, where that’s not possible, energy recovery. Drop off any amount of empty cosmetic packaging at your nearest Origins counter and you’ll be rewarded with a FREE* 1-time use sample of one of our products. To find your nearest store please visit our web-site

In addition we are able to take all empty cosmetic packaging that protect the actual beauty product, whether plastic or cardboard.

*One free sample per customer, regardless of number of empty products returned. Offer available while stocks last.Again, thank you for contacting us. We hope you will look to Origins for product honesty, performance and concern for the environment.

Thanks again for taking the time to contact Origins.

Yours sincerely,

Consumer Experience Advisor

World Snooker

I don’t use this organisation exactly, but I do watch the World Snooker Championship avidly every year, and I was not best pleased with the oodles of plastic water bottles that I saw.

Dear editor,

I enjoyed the World Snooker Championship this year, but there must have been nearly as many plastic bottles as there were balls! It seems bizarre that while David Attenborough is trying to convince us to change our ways with This Planet, the World Championship would choose to move to plastic bottles for the players! Surely they are capable of putting their sponsor’s logo on a jug or carafe instead.


Karen Murdarasi


More pestering

As you can see, the responses I’ve had so far range from justifications through promises to look into it, right up to “we’re way ahead of you” (well done, Peppersmith). I’m sure there are plenty of other companies I could contact, too. If you have any you think I should try, let me know in the comments.

Feel free to use any of these emails as a template for your own little letter-writing campaign, or just try this format:

Dear company I use,

I really like your products, especially X. However, I’m trying to reduce my use of plastic, and I wanted to ask what you’re doing to make your packaging more sustainable.


Me (details of any loyalty card you might have)

Let me know how you get on in the comments.

Of course, it’s not just about plastic. There are other issues that companies need to address, where a wee nudge might be helpful, not least the use of slavery in the supply chain – but that’s a blog for another day.


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