Wednesday, 2 June 2010


I think the best way of getting change is to ask for it. I'm going to start writing to the companies of products I consume and asking them, in various ways, to be more eco-friendly. I'm going to aim to write to at least 2 a month, but we'll see how it goes! And of course, I'll be sharing my responses with you here.

So far I've contacted the following companies, here are my concerns and their replies...

Specsavers Contact Lenses: I use contact lenses but I want to recycle the cleaning pots they come in, I emailed to ask what type of plastic it was.

Result: They were really helpful and gave some really interesting responses - I'm going to show you the whole of our conversation...

Dear Specsavers Would you be able to tell me what kind of plastic the pots (that you clean the contact lenses in) and their lids are made from and if they are recyclable? Also whether the lids of the contact lens solution are recyclable? Many Thanks.

Dear Susie,Thank you for your email.The solutions that we supply, including the cases, are covered under the supply of medicines act. We are therefore very restricted on what we can do as far as recycling.You could investigate with your local council as to whether they locally recycle these cases and bottles, as each council have different policies on this issue.

Dear Specsavers, Thank you for the information you have sent me, I will be sure to check with my local council as to whether they can be recycled here. However, it will be easier for them to tell me if I know what type of plastic the cases etc are made from, as not all types of plastic are recyclable here. Is there a way of finding this out? Many Thanks, Susie.

Dear Susie,Thank you for your email.I have passed this query on to our Product Team, as I cannot see the usual recycling symbol on the bottles. We will email you as soon as we have an answer to your query.

Dear Susie,Following your query regarding recyclable plastics:the solution bottle, cap and plug are HDPE (High Density Polyethylene)the case barrel is polystyrene the case cap and baskets are polypropylene. Our Product Team advises that HDPE is widely accepted by UK authorities for recycling. Polystyrene seems to be an issue as some local authorities will take it and some not (polystyrene is what is used to make CD cases).Hope this helps.Kind Regards.

How helpful was that! :) I emailled them to say a big thanks for being so helpful!

Pure margarine: the only marg I can eat (because it's dairy and soya free) comes in an unmarked (therefore unrecyclable) plastic box and has palm oil in it! I asked them what type of plastic the box was made of, if it could be recycled, if this could be made clear on the packaging in future and if they were planning on continuing to use palm oil.

Result: This is the email I received from them..

Dear Susie The tubs & lids can be recycled. It is classed as Channel 5 plastic for Local Council Purposes.You may need to contact your local authority for your nearest suitable recycling centre With regard to the Palm Oil Kerry Foods is aware of the ecological and social impacts of deforestation of tropical forests and shares the concern about the long-term consequences of this development. We are working towards ensuring that palm oil products we use are produced in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner. We source our oil from suppliers who are members of the 'roundtable for sustainable palm oil (RSPO)'and are working towards ensuring that all our palm oil is coming from plantations that are meeting the criteria for guaranteed sustainable palm. Once again thank you for visiting our web site and we hope you continue to enjoy our Pure products.

Hmmm, I do think thats a good start, but wouldn't it be better if the tubs were made out of nuber 1 or 2 plastic, so it could be very easily recylcable (I'm in the middle of emailing my local council to find out where/if number 5 plastic can be recycled here) and if they stopped using palm oil altogether (the RSPO smells a bit of greenwash to me!) I'll be writing to them to say just that and I'll let you know if I get a reply.

The Book People: after repeatedly un-ticking the 'receive catalogue through the post' button on their website, and repeatedly receiving catalogues through the post (wrapped in one of those plastic envelopes) I emailed them.

Result: 10 minutes later a lovely lady phoned me to tell me the reason I kept getting catalogues was because I actually had 3 accounts with them and was only cancelling getting mail from one of the accounts - she cancelled them all for me! Sorted!


  1. This is GREAT Susie and has given me a proverbial kick up the bum to follow your example.

  2. Thanks Jeni! I'm excited that I inspired you!!

  3. Sooz,
    This is brilliant. Shows what a little writing can do. I used to wear contact lenses, but about a year ago, got lazy and now stick with my specs. But appreciate you sharing this info. I too use pure margarine and was quite mift re the lack of recycling info. Thanks for sharing. And good to read you cancelled those two other Book People accounts.

  4. Well done, Sooz! You rock! :)
    I'll look forward to next replies and letters!

  5. Thanks Mangocheeks :)
    I'm still really mift with Pure Margarine! no recycling! number 5 plastic! palm oil! Oh dear! I'm on the lookout for a different brand!

    Thanks Danda :) (you rock too!)


Thanks for visiting!

You can also find me on Twitter @secondhandsusie and Facebook