Week 35- A Green Company

Here’s a tale with a happy ending.

A few days ago we received a rubbish problem in the mail: A flyer from our power provider Meridian wrapped in clear plastic.  Amazingly it was the first piece of (solicited) plastic ensconced mail we have received since starting 8 months ago.  We have had other things come through but they were unsolicited and unwanted so we just returned them to sender.  I know some people get inundated with plastic covered mail, one person I spoke to said it was one of her biggest sources of rubbish!  But we have worked hard on cutting it down, we have a no junk mail sign and are not on any subscription or mailing lists.  When we somehow we get on mailing lists anyway we RTS or email asking to get off.

For those of you unaware of Meridian’s image it is a company that prides itself on being green.  When we recently got back from a year overseas we had to work out the best providers for phone, internet and power.  Working out the cheapest phone internet combo was a horrible, confusing task, and it was looking like choosing the best power provider would be tantamount.  Then I stumbled upon Greenpeace’s Clean Energy Guide.  You  choose your area and it rates the electricity providers in terms of their ‘cleaness’.  Some companies are worse than others but the only green rated company in the whole country is Meridian.  I was pleased to find straight forward grounds for choosing someone that didn’t involve maths so I signed up.

Zoom forward 10 months… I receive this plastic wrapped flyer/promo thing from a company I had hoped would have thought that one through.  So I decided to write them a letter challenging them about it.  Its actually only the third ever letter I have written along this lines, I hate the confrontation.  I highlighted that they had unnecessarily created thousands of pieces of plastic that will be in our ecosystems for hundreds and hundreds of years and (politely) asked if they could reconsider their future use of plastic in mailouts, I actually mentioned that I would be blogging about it, which Matthew thought was quite similar to blackmail….hmmm, who knows.  Anyway the day after I snail mailed them we received an email from Nadine at the customer services team.  Here’s an excerpt from her letter:

Thank you for contacting Meridian Energy.

Regarding the plastic envelope that your latest correspondence was
enclosed in, I can advise you that it is made from corn starch and is
entirely compostable.  We also only use plant dyes in our printing so
you can also compost any printed material without putting unwanted
chemicals into the environment.

We are also at this time working towards reducing the amount of
correspondence we mail out to customers, you can register to receive
your bills online at www.mymeridian.co.nz and also opt to receive all
correspondence from us via email.

Well!  Talk about being out done!  I am so humbled and delighted!  and sooo pleased that we chose them. I know that the economic system we live in makes it extremely difficult for companies to be truley environmentally friendly and that there are plenty of companies quick to cash in on the green dollar without looking at their production impact holistically. But it looks like Meridian’s green actions are driven from somwhere deep within its core philosophy.  So nice for a change, well done Meridian!  Oh and by the way, if your household would consider switching to a more ethical power provider but is concerned about the cost…rest assured our powerbills have never been cheaper!

8 thoughts on “Week 35- A Green Company

  1. I went to commonsense organics yesterday. They have BEE and Ecostore products in big containers – you can take your own and refill them, though the product range is very limited. i asked about the new ecostore liquid soap and was told that ES are very reluctant to provide products in bulk so very unlikely they will get it. WHY? This is bizarre! Also wanted to get more dishwasher powder…the choice was a plastic bottle of it, or a plastic bag refill…do these companies not think? If you can buy laundry powder in paper, why not dishwash?

    Yeah that is really frustrating. Do you know why Ecostore is reluctant to supply bulk product?

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  2. That’s great that they were using biodegradable plastic! I wonder if they should print biodegradable right on the cover though? Otherwise people who aren’t as conscious as you guys would just throw it in the bin where it would go to the landfill and wouldn’t get any oxygen and wouldn’t be able to decompose properly.

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  3. Having heard you talk at the Sustainability conference I got back home and also received my meridian mail out – I noticed the plastic outer too and was equally frustrated…but then saw the little statement at the bottom saying I could bio-degrade the plastic and the paper was recycled – very cool! Your talk was obviously very inspiring because I have been assessing all my rubbish since!!

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  4. Hi Matthew and Waveney,
    I have been following your journey and I have been challenged in a good way!
    I have bought a Bokashi bin and literally halved the waste output in our family. My wife Ker used to wrap my lunch in the cling wrap and I have changed to plastic containers that can be washed and re used.
    I have been giving friends some of the juice from the bokashi bin and its really helping their plants !
    You are an inspiration to me and I commend you on taking up the challenge and hopefully we can all live like this soon !
    Cheers Pete

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  5. I’m glad Meridian’s wrappers are biodegradable – they’re my power company too, and now I’ll just chuck their wrappers in my compost instead of the rubbish bin.

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  6. Hi guys. Just catching up on some reading. I too nearly choked when I got that Meridian flyer in the plastic bag. And I thought, how am I going to get rid of this. Not fair, it will have to go into my one bag, but I didn’t bring it into my house. But if you read the flyer it did actually say on it, somewhere in small print, what the wrapping was made out of! Jules

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  7. They also make the disposable cups in their buildings out of corn starch I think… Makes them go slightly yellow when their in a stack 🙂

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