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!