Last week I posted on Facebook and Instagram that I was not happy to receive so much plastic packaging with my childrens’ Milo In2 Cricket participant gift packs and that I wasn’t going to accept it as our waste because we had no choice in the matter. I had the idea to send the packaging back to Cricket Australia with suggestions for improvement because I strongly believe that businesses and organisations should take full lifecycle responsibility of the products they put out into the world. Organisations that don’t are simply cutting costs by externalising aspects like waste. However, taking full responsibility would drive innovation toward a circular economy and they would likely save money in the end.
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We're a sporty family and sport is always going to play a role in our lives. Normally we hire uniforms or get secondhand but #miloin2cricket you have really disappointed me. The truth is the amount of plastic waste your 'gift' to players creates is irresponsible! Bats, balls, tshirts, wickets, backpacks, posters and so on do NOT need to be individually wrapped in anything. And why not use the backpack as the bag that contains everything else. I appreciate that you give a different gift to returning players but I would have appreciated the opportunity to choose not to receive one of these packs through the registration process and/or choose the items we don't want (e.g. Plastic bats quickly become rubbish). In an effort to get this issue noticed I'll be sending this rubbish back to you with some ideas for improving your gift. The guilt for disposing of your waste should not be left with me. #proudcricketmoment not #breakfreefromplastic
I shared my intentions with my followers to demonstrate that we can all stand up against mindless consumption and the unneccessary generation of waste in a range of ways. Managing waste doesn’t have to all rest on the shoulders of indivduals trying to make good choices – but making good choices is still important. In this instance I didn’t think it was fair to ask my children to refuse the participant pack when the situation seemed easily preventable. And, what good would it do to make my children miserable if Cricket Australia never knew of our small protest. I had to let them know and I thought this was a good way to make the point.
Most people loved the idea of sending waste with a letter of explanation back to the company that produced it and thought it would drive change quicker if we all did it. But a couple of people were upset that I’d named an organisation. My response to that is, why shouldn’t we hold businesses accountable? Milo In2Cricket is a fantastic sports program and I had faith that the managers would be interested in solving this issue. Their speedy response has not disappointed me.
Thank you for your email [I emailed my letter as well as posted a copy with the plastic] and your concern regarding the plastic wrapping of items from your MILO in2CRICKET participant pack. The points you raise are a good reminder to us to continue to look at the full lifecycle of the equipment we provide within the MILO in2CRICKET program.
The wrapping of products has been done to minimise damage during transportation and spoilage when they are stored. With that in mind, we are consistently reviewing our sourcing and fulfilment methods and will work with our supplier to try to identify solutions that minimise the wrapping used whilst ensuring products can be provided to children in the best quality state.
Your note regarding letting people choose the items is a good suggestion and it is something that we have been exploring for some time. There are a number of logistical and operational considerations that haven’t allowed us to offer this to date.
I appreciate the time you have taken to provide your feedback. I agree that Cricket Australia has a responsibility to minimise the environmental impact created during the production and distribution of products we provide to participants. As mentioned, we regularly review our product sourcing and fulfilment methods and we will take your feedback on board during this ongoing process.
Kind regards, (Name withheld)
I think this is a positive response from Cricket Australia and I am hopeful that in one year, when the participant packs roll out again, there will be some changes based on this feedback. If there is, I will happily share the details through all my social channels. My kids are happy to have received their participant pack and have shown interest in my new approach and in the response from Cricket Australia. Who knows, our small act could help reduce the waste in 2,300+ packs next year, instead of just two.