How to influence corporate America

The most powerful way to a corporation's heart is through its pocketbook. Corporations respond to consumer demands as they see them. If enough people want cars with tail fins, and the car companies find out, there will be cars with tail fins again. If enough people want household products that can be easily recycled, and the companies find out, companies will make products that are easily recycled. Suggested actions for the given codes are:

A powerful statement can be made by stopping purchase of a product, but an effect thousands of times more potent can be had by writing a letter. Most packages contain the address of the company or a response phone number. Sometimes only the company name and city are provided. Your phone book or directory assistance can provide the area code for the city, and a call to directory assistance can secure the number. The person answering the phone should be able to provide an address for your letter.

You might even turn a profit! Most companies respond with a letter tailored to the specific points you raise, and several dollars in coupons for free products.

Some examples follow:

Call 1-800-428-4795: "Dow chemical? I'd like to suggest that your Ziplock brand bags be labeled as to plastic type for recycling." (Since there is already printing on the bag, this would cost them nothing, but they claim there is not enough recycling interest to do it.)

Tropicana Products Inc.
Consumer Relations Department
PO Box 338
Bradenton, Fl 34206

Dear Tropicana Products;

I am a fan of your pure premium orange juice, but I have recently stopped buying the product. Your waxed-paper cartons have a plastic spout and cannot be recycled in my community. Please consider changing packaging styles so I can once again enjoy your juice.

John Q. Consumer
123 Main Street
Everywhere, USA 123456
(123) 456-7890

The Keebler Elves
Customer Relations
1 Hollow Tree Lane
Elmhurst, IL 60126

Dear Elves; I enjoy your Wheatables crackers, but feel bad about purchasing them. The box makes no mention about recycled content, and the thought of the Keebler Elves chopping down their own forest to make boxes is too tragic for words. Please let me know when Keebler will start using recycled content paperboard in boxes. Valid HTML 4.0!