When walking my pooch on Saturday morning, carrying the ever-reliable ‘doggy bags’ in anticipation of that fateful moment, I reflected on the fact that the Shire of Busselton went down the biodegradable doggy bag path some months ago. I also recalled that the South Bound festival, which doubles Busselton’s population for a weekend each January, also went down the biodegradable path recently, with biodegradable cutlery and other food-service packaging. I wondered – who else is jumping on the ‘biodegradable-band-wagon’?

Armed with my challenge for the morning – I got researching. And this is what I found: Woolworths are currently researching the viability and efficiency of utilising biodegradable bags and are also receiving submissions from biodegradable bag suppliers. Coles is establishing eco concept stores around the nation, but no plans for implementing biodegradable bags universally that I could see. Little Creatures Brewery in Fremantle now sells it’s beer in biodegradable cups. Little did I know, the Shire of Busselton has also introduced biodegradable parking infringement protection bags (was the idea to make the parking fine feel any less annoying?!).

To digress for a moment…. I also read an interesting article which talked about how the infamous green cloth bags (sold by Coles, Woolworths and IGA) have become a bit of a fashion statement recently, dotting beaches, shopping malls and streets throughout Australia as the perfect ‘fit-everything-in’ accessory. I don’t know about anyone else, but I always feel like a bit of a goose carrying my wad of green bags into any shops that take my fancy en-route to the supermarket, not to mention the embarrassment faced when I continue to knock things off the shelf as I walk past. I wish they’d invent a bag bag – one that looked stylish enough to carry all your un-stylish green bags in. Anyway…

You’re probably thinking – what is the relevance of this to marketing? Well my point is – why are some companies lagging so far behind, or if they’re not, why don’t we know about it? I am very surprised that McDonalds haven’t been the market leader in this category – as one of the largest, if not THE largest, producer of waste materials in the world. And yet, it’s major competitor Hungry Jacks (Burger King) haven’t seized the opportunity to be the first, either. Even major FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) manufacturers haven’t gone out on a limb and offered anything biodegradable. Imagine the marketing leverage possible from such a program – in fact, McDonalds probably wouldn’t have to pay a single dollar to market the change – media hype would do this for them.

Green is here to stay whether we like it or not. I think the quicker companies realise it, the better. For the consumer. For them. And, importantly, for
the environment.

P.S. My regular blog posts will be absent for the next two weeks – I will be enjoying some time in the sunny north of our state, no doubt collecting many marketing experiences to bring back with me.