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CapitalOne Waste

CapitalOne sent me this 9.5″ x 6″ package to try to get me to sign up for one of their credit cards. I know we all get several of these a day in some cases.

I’m just increasingly amazed at the amount of waste these companies will pump into landfills. What pushed me over the edge was the inclusion of a square of bubble-wrap to give the package bulk , and make it seem like there was an object inside. However, there was nothing but several slips of paper.

Does CapitalOne really think I’m going to want to do business with them after deceptive and wasteful actions like these? It’s like how spammers fill the subject line with H4X0R language to bypass spam filters. Do these companies not realize that they lose credibility?

I understand the industry built around direct mailing, but as our culture becomes more sensitive to waste and responsibility in our consumption, I hope these companies will catch up, or be held accountable when they don’t.

The contents of the package:

National Geographic: High-Tech Trash

High-tech trash National Geographic has posted a story about the environmental impact of all of our technological waste. My initial reaction was, ‘Yeah, I understand that this is a problem,’ but I was not ready for the vivid accounts of exactly how this problem affects lives and environments around the world.

June is the wet season in Ghana, but here in Accra, the capital, the morning rain has ceased. As the sun heats the humid air, pillars of black smoke begin to rise above the vast Agbogbloshie Market. I follow one plume toward its source, past lettuce and plantain vendors, past stalls of used tires, and through a clanging scrap market where hunched men bash on old alternators and engine blocks. Soon the muddy track is flanked by piles of old TVs, gutted computer cases, and smashed monitors heaped ten feet (three meters) high. Beyond lies a field of fine ash speckled with glints of amber and green—the sharp broken bits of circuit boards. I can see now that the smoke issues not from one fire, but from many small blazes. Dozens of indistinct figures move among the acrid haze, some stirring flames with sticks, others carrying armfuls of brightly colored computer wire. Most are children.

Choking, I pull my shirt over my nose and approach a boy of about 15, his thin frame wreathed in smoke. Karim says he has been tending such fires for two years. He pokes at one meditatively, and then his top half disappears as he bends into the billowing soot. He hoists a tangle of copper wire off the old tire he’s using for fuel and douses the hissing mass in a puddle. With the flame retardant insulation burned away—a process that has released a bouquet of carcinogens and other toxics—the wire may fetch a dollar from a scrap-metal buyer….

There’s MUCH more to the article at the National Geographic website.