These Come From Trees Sticker

These Come From Trees Sticker
This is the sticker we're hoping can save a couple hundred thousand trees a year. Amazing how the right message at the right time can make the difference.

Quick Facts about "These Come From Trees"

Monday, February 26, 2007

Welcome Seth Godin Readers

To everyone showing up thanks to the Seth Godin link, welcome to the These Come From Trees Blog!

This site is set to be the online pivot point of this project, the goal of which is to do some "costless conservation" with a viral sticker campaign that encourages people to think twice as they use paper towels and napkins.

As I said to Seth in my email, this project entails a lot of what he talks about on his blog: enthusiasm, candor, authenticity, and respect. So I'm looking forward to see what his readership has to say about it.

Check out the background of the project broken out below, and please provide comments, criticism, and feedback as they come to you! And subscribe to our RSS feed, and you can see updates and traction on the project as we post about it.

And if you think this is something you'd like to try out in your neck of the woods, stickers are for sale in the right sidebar!

~Pete

19 comments:

Craig said...

great idea!

Deyl said...

love the idea and the execution!

docsanchez said...

Why not make the graphic downloadable? Then any schmo like me can print them off at home on a standard set of Avery labels from Staples (or wherever).

It'd only take a few minutes to set it up for easy home printing and would save everyone some money and time.

Pete said...

Doc! Great question. In fact, we did consider that. I'm going to do a post on why that won't work, and the workaround we're working on.

But clearly you're thinking hard about the problem, and that's awesome! Thanks again.

ross said...

Hey Pete

This is really very awesome, I'm just about to blog you too so I hope I can spread the word a little more!

Have a great week
Ross

henriette weber andersen said...

hi, what a great idea ! - I have posted something about the campaign on greengirlsglobal.com, one thing I would like to mention is that the campaign seems very US focused, but could you come up with some european facts too ?

nice work though - two thumbs up !

henriette weber andersen said...

just want to ask - is it on purpose that you can't use the picture for anything else than the sticker ? I mean even digitally and on blogs ?

I hope that's not the case.. that would be a pretty unlucky way to go about it..

These Come said...

Not sure I follow what you're saying Henriette? What picture? Are you talking about the Creative Commons license? As far as I'm concerned, as long as it doesn't impede the performance of campaign, i.e., putting it on a massive sticker and papering it over the headquarters of Kimberly Clark, I'm happy for anyone to use it anywhere, as long as it's attributed!

Is that what you were asking about?

jeff said...

Don't stickers come from trees?

Pete said...

@Jeff

I assume the implication behind your comment is that the idea of stickers runs counter to this project?

We thought about this as well, when trying to figure out the best way to go about addressing this opportunity.

When our field testing results came back, it became clear that 50 1.5"x3" stickers, plus the postage it takes to get them to someone, represented a reasonable investment in resources given that each one, when posted, can save 100 pounds of paper a year. It seemed like a pretty solid return on investment.

jeff said...

I figured you'd thought that through. However, as a father of small children who helps them use public restrooms and gets various "fluids" on his hands that need to be wiped off quickly only to be met with a preachy sticker while my son is now sticking his hands in the public restroom toilet would no doubt spawn cynical thoughts in my head at the time about whether "these" refers to stickers or paper towels and how, perhaps, getting pooh off my hands is a valuable usage of a tree.

In other words, your sticker doesn't have these facts on it that back up your assertion that paper stickers are better than paper towels. Most people, just seeing your sticker and not knowing the facts, may not respond accordingly.

I'm writing this from Rhinelander, WI, home to a paper mill (that makes stickers by the way) and I know all about the impact of paper first-hand. I'm all for your project, I'm just wondering if the upfront "hypocrisy" may not undermine your efforts at some point. Is there a non-paper solution?

Pete said...

@Jeff,

Your thoughts are great on this topic. And it's situations like yours that are exactly why we really tried hard to make sure that the message was friendly, and non-preachy--specifically because we don't know the individual circumstances of every user. If you've ever seen some of the other messages that are out there trying to achieve this goal, they typically tell instead of ask, and are just all around unpleasant.

At the end of the day, I have faith in the typical person to make their own decision about how much of a given resource to use, whether it's paper towels, gasoline, or electricity (I'm on a computer right now...) The goal of this message is to add a helpful reminder "in the moment" such that the user can expend a momentary brain cycle evaluating the situation. If the reader thinks we're telling him what to do, and is unhappy, we've not done a good job.

I know that in my research, sitting in a toilet stall, listening to how many paper towels are used per hand washing (the cool thing about folded paper towels is they make a distinct "shoonk" sound for each one being pulled out, and the lever-driven ones make a nice noise every time the lever is pulled!), most of the time, it doesn't have to do with a crying baby with "fluids" everywhere. Most of the time, it's just someone (myself included) spacing out, thinking about their meeting later, and in the process pulling like five paper towels, when two would do just dandy. It's a presence of mind thing.

I think we can all agree that dealing with baby fluids is a great use of paper towels, and even if I thought it weren't (and I certainly think it is), the goal of this project isn't to tell people what is and isn't a "suitable use." It's just to help people be in the moment. That's all.

It's nice to see a bumper sticker that says "Visualize World Peace" or "You SUV Funds Terrorists" or what have you, but those messages are ultimately frustrating because there's nothing that can be done, if you agree with those messages, in the moment. There's no specific call to action that can be executed on right then and there.

And your point about putting actual facts on the sticker is a good one. We had to take into consideration size issues, and "message muddle" issues too. In this case, the website being on the sticker is the call to action for someone who may be interested to read more. And hopefully they'll find your and my conversation!

Thanks for the comments, Jeff. Good luck with the babies in the bathroom, and you have some beautiful pictures on your blog. Your town is really pretty with all the snow.

jeff said...

Thanks for chatting Pete. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Keith OnSite said...

This is a great idea, and very simple. One would have to say that even if the stickers come from trees, the amount of trees they save over time is well worth the effort.

I am in the event industry and we use a lot of paper, this gave me the idea to try and save some trees in our industry as well.

I was happy to post a link to this from my spot at http://corporateevents.blogspot.com and will pass along the info to all of the restaurant and coffee shop owners I come across in my travels and business.

Keep up the good work!

Keith

Ron said...

Great idea. I thought I'd mention that being colorblind, the lime green on white background is difficult to see. A bit more contrast (dare I say forest green) would be better. I should add that colorblindness grows on family trees.

Pete said...

@Ron

Thanks for the note. The stickers themselves are actually printed with a green that is Pantone PMS #354. So it is darker than what the image looks like, but just mildly so.

Good point about the color blindness point though. Never though about that!

Clearly the Blogger pun filter is down too ; )

Jon B said...

Great idea, and you've really put a lot of thought and research into it.

I saw something on TV a while ago (UK) about stores that leave their doors open and fan heaters on full blast (the definitive 'global warming'?), and it made me wonder whether a sticker campaign on every offending shop door/window would help raise awareness.

You've now got me thinking about how such a sticker would be worded - not too pushy/commanding/abusive etc. Would love to hear any ideas...

Pete said...

@ Jon B

It sounds like you're really thinking about other way to make this sort of "costless conservation" happen, and that's great.

However, I wonder in the case of the UK shops, if they leave their shop doors open because doing so invites business in. I know from my readings on retail psychology (Paco Underhill's "Why We Buy") that leaving the door open versus closing it can have meaningful consequences on a store's bottom line. That is, a lot of people take a closed door as a signifier that the store is closed, even if there's an "open" sign hung on it.

In that case, I would be very hesitant to sticker some merchant's door, in that the reason he has it open is to drive revenue. In that case, there's a tension between the owner of the "to-be-stickered" location, the stickerer, and the reader of the message.

But obviously there's a problem there, and there may be a creative solution as well.

If you could figure out what the actual heating / cooling costs (stores in California, in the summer leave their doors open w/ the air conditioning running) are for an open versus closed door , and then figure out what the revenue hit is for a closed versus open door, perhaps you could do some testing with big signs that say "Ignore the closed door! We're are definitely open. We're just doing our part to conserve energy. But it's nice and toasty in here! Come join us!" or something like that.

The goal, again, is win-win for everyone involved, except the actual resource seller, like in These Come From Trees' case Kimberly Clark or Georgia Pacific, and in your case, British Petroleum, or the utility.

Anonymous said...

thanks..

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