Media Releases | 20th Dec, 2005

Consumers lured by damaging marketing ploys

Tuesday, 20 December 2005

A vitamin pill with a red flashing light – aimed at grabbing the attention of shoppers – has been awarded this year’s annual DUMP Awards, for damaging and useless materials in packaging.

Judged by an expert panel, the Gold DUMP award went to Myadec A-Z Guard multi-vitamin that was singled out for its red light and batteries, which could be hazardous when dumped in landfill.

The panel of judges, from industry and academia, also criticised negative emerging trends, particularly supermarket fruit and vegetables needlessly packaged in unrecyclable wrapping. Bottles covered in shrink plastic wrap, such as Cadbury Schweppes Hot Chocolate – awarded both the Negative Development in Packaging and Misleading Labelling gongs – were equally as concerning.

The national Awards follow a two-month study and highlights a booming trend to sell products wrapped in large amounts of environmentally-unfriendly packaging.

Retailers and manufacturers were going to extraordinary lengths to sell their products, said Jenny Henty DUMP report author and Environment Victoria’s Zero Waste Campaign Director.

“The stand-out horrors from this year’s DUMP awards are those that use cheap marketing tactics such as a flashing red light, as well as those that use excessive unrecyclable packaging such as bottles or fruit and vegetables covered in shrink wrap,” said Ms Henty.

“The cost to the community of this waste is enormous – not just as litter in our waterways and animal habitats but to the cost of products themselves and council rates. It’s a damaging waste of resources and money. We can do better.”

DUMP judge Dave West, spokesman for the Boomerang Alliance, said consumers should use their purchasing power to show manufacturers they won’t tolerate waste.

“Manufacturers’ want you to buy as much as possible so they create short-lived products and wrap multiple products together in one pack. So avoid buying products that are obviously over-packaged or non-recyclable,” said Mr West.

“If we are serious about tackling the scourge of waste then State and Federal governments must continue to pressure industry, not just through voluntary agreements, but by mandating price signals, such as bottle deposits and recycling fees.”

The Encouragement Award went to Go-Pet worming tablets for dogs. Last year this product won the Large Ratio of Packaging award, but this year Nestle has reduced its packaging by 40%.

Ms Henty said: “It’s great to see some companies making an attempt to minimise packaging and its environmental impact but there are still too many who totally disregard it.”