Having watched the incipient (and likely planned) backlash against Al Gore for his family's own electricity usage in the face of his work on Inconvenient Truth , got me thinking about how important it is for the "whole package" of a given product / service to "hang" together in the right way.
This is true with "These Come From Trees" as well, and I thank my buddy Noah, whose RA I was in college, for pointing this out in a message he sent me from the TCFT Facebook group. Noah's a journalist, so he spends a lot of time thinking about words and communicating. To quote him:
"If I were trying to really clarify the message though, I'd print recycled stickers. "
Totally good point right? After some research, custom-printed recycled stickers don't really exist as far as I could tell. Secondly, if they did exist, they would like come at a cost premium. Don't know how much, but as a fairly niche product, it would probably be appreciable.
This might be problematic, because we want to make sure that the costs of the stickers are as supportable as possible, such that as many people as possible are willing to buy them. Their inexpensiveness helps make the message more pervasive, which is the point. The more stickers out there, the more "costless waste reduction."
But Noah's point leads to a broader point, which is: the performance has to match the expectation, and this means anticipating questions like that, and dealing with them.
So, I've been trying to make sure that the "whole product" here jives with the intent. But I've been having a hard time. So many people have ordered stickers, which is awesome, that we've been scrambling to get all the infrastructure in place to get those orders out.
When I went to Office Depot yesterday, I specifically set out to find small footprint, recycled envelopes in which to send the stickers to people who got them. But mirabilis dictu, they didn't have any. Not a single one. Amazing huh?
We had to get some envelopes to start sending out stickers, so the first batch isn't recycled. However, going forward, we're going to make sure that all components of the project adhere to this guideline, as long as it doesn't impede the larger goals of the project (for example, not going to be making handmade stickers out of scraps of old envelopes--defeats the goals of the project).
Our next batch of envelopes will be coming from here.
Thanks for the food for thought, Noah, and everyone else who has been commenting.
Quick Facts about "These Come From Trees"
- Check out our "welcome post" to learn about what inspired this project.
- Eco-minded Citizens: See what you can do with These Come From Trees!
- K-12 Schools, check out our Education Challenge
- Hundreds of Businesses Using These Come From Trees Stickers
- Proven up to 29% paper use reduction
- A single "These Come From Trees" sticker can save around a tree's worth of paper, every year
- More than 50,000 stickers distributed since 3/07
- Laminated stickers hold up to washing.
- A typical fast food restaurant with two bathrooms can use up to 2000 pounds of paper towels a year
- The average coffee shop uses 1000 pounds of paper towels a year
- A single tree produces around 100 pounds of paper
- Roughly 50,000 fast food restaurants in the US
- 200,000 gas stations in the US
- 14,000 McDonalds' in the US
- 10,000 Starbucks in the US