Saturday, April 26, 2008

Dear Trader Joe

Dear Joe or Authorized Representative,

I love my local Trader Joe's. The store is bright and clean, crew members are friendly and knowledgeable, and the food is fabulous! Still, I find myself limiting my visits due to concerns about packaging. I find it confusing that I get a great re-usable paper bag filled to the top with non-recyclable plastics. Plastic are a great concern to me, so I do not buy any veggies at your store and find myself appalled by sheer volume of plastic on everything else.

Here in the Seattle area, we have a good but limited plastic recycling system and other than plastic bottles, very little of the plastics I get from your store can be placed in the bins.

Trader Joe's is so great at being environmentally friendly in other areas but this area also needs to be addressed.

I would like to see more items offered in standard canning-style glass jars. More and more of us are doing some home canning so many of the jars would be reused many times.

I would like to see more products packaged in compostable plastics. Packages that are clearly marked, "Suitable for compost bin recycling" would be a great comfort to me.

I would like to see more products including your lovely baby veggies packaged in reusable "Tupperware" style packaging.

I would like to see more products packaged in consumer reusable containers. Something I can use the contents, slip off the label and reuse. For example: Playtex Chubs Stackable Baby Wipes. These come in a re-fillable box that is also a giant Lego that can be played with for years and then recycled.

And, I would LOVE to see Trader Joe's switch to more "returnable" packaging that could be taken back to the factory and refilled.

I would also love to see more regionally produced products. My great disappointment of my last TJ's shopping trip: TJ's Spanish White Beans with Vegetables from Spain. I will never buy this product again no matter how healthy and delicious it is. The only part of the packaging that is recyclable here in Seattle is the cardboard sleeve. The tray and plastic film are trash. And, the idea of shipping cooked beans from Spain is ridiculous. I know that dealing with large companies helps to make your products consistent but Spain??? Maybe you can get the same thing in a dehydrated version and sell it in paper packaging---just add water or maybe just sell the Sofrito sauce in a big jar to flavor beans with, made in Washington State if possible. Until I see something like that, I am done with this particular product.

Alas, Dear Trader Joe, even though your goods are really, really good, I will have to limit my trips to your store to just the basic necessities.

4 comments: said...

You said it! These thoughts are very similar to my reactions and hopes for Trader Joe's. Did you send this to them?

VicinSea said...

I did! I sent it to the corporate officers listed on their website and I haven't been to a Trader Joes since I wrote this article.

Weed Whackin' Wenches said...

Dare I admit it? Four years in Seattle and still have not set foot in Trader Joe's. Just stopped by to repay the visit and check out your blog. How did you find us??? Were you googling "purple potatoes"? BTW, as far as I know potatoes are not supposed to be invasive! LOL. But then again, here in the PNW lots of things become invasive quite easily. Thanks for stopping by and leaving us a comment.

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