A solution looking for a problem, or a genuine invention?

Dodgy “Unpackit Awards” misses the point

A few months ago a little, a seemingly irrelevant, group calling itself Wanaka Wastebusters received some sunlight after using $150,000 of taxpayer money to slag off New Zealand businesses for their Unpackit Awards.

While their funders at the Ministry for the Environment turn a blind eye and continue to chuck them bags of money, their Minister, Amy Adams is not quite as impressed, particularly after hearing they whored into $80,000 of public money for a birthday bash.

Anyway, they’ve spent the last few months lobbying themselves to pick out the Worst Packaging Award winner, and low and behold have launched themselves at Progressive Enterprises’ Countdown supermarkets scoring them a “D” with their fresh produce packaging.   Read more »

First they came for your fags, now they are coming for your food

534119_4519365494819_197737480_nFor all of you who thought plain packaging was a good idea to help stop people smoking, think again. Now they have won that battle they are after your food.

GRAPHIC images and plain packaging for junk food may be forced on consumers, as food industry heavyweights debate tough measures to combat obesity.

A panel of food science, nutrition and manufacturing experts will tackle whether tobacco’s plain packaging approach would help curb the state’s growing obesity epidemic at the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology convention today.

This follows February’s call from Queensland’s chief health officer Jeannette Young to examine the option.

Institute president Anne Astin said junk food regulation was a “thorny issue of the future” that needs to be addressed urgently.

“If our health system can’t cope with the increasing incidence of lifestyle-related diseases, it’s something we will have to consider as an option. The levels of intervention need to become stronger. Ultimately, it may come to plain packaging.”  Read more »

Plain Packaging a gift to criminals

ᔄ Print Week

The Maori party and other anti-smoking lobbyists want to force through plain packaging of tobacco…there are other moves from lobby groups to likewise force through plain packaging proposals in all sorts of areas…but let’s focus on tobacco.

There is no empirical evidence that it will work as is predicted, in fact there is more evidence to suggest that the opposite will occur. Plain packaging is actually an open invitation to the black market…and if you don’t believe me then have a good look at how criminals currently package methamphetamine and marijuana…you can’t get any plainer than a clear plastic baggie or a tinnie:

In addition to being heavy handed and without giving due consideration to previous regulation introduced into the sector, this legislation would give the UK a reputation as a bad place to do business, making it harder to attract investment. The proposal is also an open invitation to black market trade.

The tobacco sector is a prime example of this. A recent letter in The Times, signed by 23 former senior police officers, strongly reiterated the view that the introduction of plain packaging would encourage organised criminals to move into this area and sell these products to the unsuspecting public. Plain packaging would be far easier to copy and consumers would become less interested in whether goods were genuine or aware if they contained non-tobacco or even toxic substances.

It would not only erode volumes for bona fide producers and retailers (particularly small shops), but would also reduce government tax revenues, boost the criminal economy, stretch law enforcement agencies and present an increased health risk.

Additionally, by removing the sophisticated techniques used in tobacco packaging, price would be the only competitive factor in the market. So, ironically, these changes would have the effect of lowering selling prices, which could actually encourage levels of consumption to increase to the most vulnerable.

Young people would be able to access tobacco products with much more ease as the black market operates at car boot sales, unauthorised street markets, pub car parks and the like.

Furthermore, the proposals could also lead to an increase in intellectual property crime and counterfeiting due to the ease with which unbranded packaging could be copied.


The Egg Carton Tank

Now this is what I call art:

‘Eggs for Soldiers’ is a family event held every year at the Clapham Common in London to raise money for Help for Heroes. It’s basically about the sale of khaki green boxes of eggs, with 15 pence from the sale of each box going to the charity that helps wounded servicemen returning from war. This year’s event on the 4th of March will have two great things to look forward to – a national egg and spoon race, and a life-size tank made of no less than 5,016 egg cartons.

The tank, a replica of The Challenger 2, was created by British sculptor Stuart Murdoch. Along with the 5,000 odd egg cartons, he also made use of over 10,000 nails, 26 liters of glue, 15 liters of paint, 80 sq. meters of steel and 5,013 staples in the creation of this epic tank.