Drowning in Yogurt Cups

Re: Recycling Yogurt Cups!!!
Too Many Yogurt Cups to Count
Dear Dannon Yogurt,

Recently scientists invented a device called the “laser.” It is very handy for correcting vision, cutting things, attaching to the heads of irritated seabass for military purposes. Scientists are smart and can come up with creative ways of fixing problems all the time.

 I was wondering, since 2005, when your science people came up with that “solution” for too much plastic (getting rid of the TOPS of your yogurt containers..brilliant!) I was wondering… what have your packaging scientists been up to? It was a brilliant stroke, the lid concept. Keeping 3.6 million pounds of plastic out of the landfill each year is significant and a great number to wave around. But that factoid is getting kinda dry, now. And what about the other 6 odd million pounds of waste you produce? Lidless yogurt cups that hold marbles no more!

We know why the cups aren’t really recyclable at the average curbside.  That hasn’t changed in the recycling business since the beginning, because changing each individual recycling program is like stabbing peas with a fork. There are better solutions.

Like, why not stop producing of the waste, at its source? In the intervening years since the lid revelation, have your packaging scientists been on vacation?

Our Yogurt Cup Recycling Options

1. Over at Stonyfield Farm, for example, you can mail them back their cups (but not competitors, natch) and they’ll recycle through Recycline. Sure there’s the postage and packaging issue, and it’s kind of an old school option. But, they’re busy at Stonyfield, massaging the organic cows! Give ’em a break. At least they are trying. Besides, old school is SO in right now. Everybody’s losing email and going back to postcards!

2. We can all get crafty with them, making hundreds of  little seed pots with the buttons that have fallen off of coats we wished we’d never worn. But hey this isn’t exactly the best definition for “reuse”… slathering glue and paint on polymer and leaving it to collect dust and layers of guilt when it finally lands in the trash bag my grandchildren  fill when they clean out my house after I croak.  Based on the yogurt consumption rate per year multiplied by average life expectancy, I should have made about 4000 tiny ugly pots by the time I kick it.

3. None found. Literally I spent an hour researching yogurt cup recycling and found only these above options. Mail cups to Stonyfield (and eat Stonyfield) or make tiny seed pots.

Resesarch is for sissies!

So, in conclusion, Dannon friends, based on my research, here’s what I learned:

  • People like yogurt and they eat it alot. Good job on making that happen, since you guys were pretty much “the” yogurt people.
  • No one in the green scene really has the capital resources to find a solution for these pesky yogurt cups. Hmm… who might have those resources?
  • No one seems to care to take responsibility, except Stonyfield. Hmm … who might be their competitor?
  • Eating healthy is important! But part of the whole eating healthy stuff is convenience factor– and sometimes the package convenience comes in can just plain cancel out the health benefit of the goodness inside.

Anyway, Dannon, it was nice catching up. Thanks for your dizzying array of products and all the great sales. Always makes the trip to the yogurt aisle a chilly shopping adventure.

And I’m sure just as soon as you need another boost in the organic and green market, we’ll hear from your scientists again!

 Your friend,

The consumers

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Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She teaches and speaks about the rhetorical impact of beautiful writing. A recent transplant to Connecticut, she calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home. 

  2 comments for “Drowning in Yogurt Cups

  1. October 16, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    You said it, sister. We collect cottage cheese containers around here. WTF am I supposed to do with all these?! We have handy scoops for every imaginable need–cat food, dog food, cat litter, compost–but really, how many scoops does one need? They don’t multiply as quickly as said yogurt containers, but they’re equally ubiquitous.

  2. Al Gracian
    December 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I developed a method to reuse / recycle both a 32oz Dannon Yogurt container in addition to a 105 count Clorox Wipes container. This technique creates a sub-irrigated planter / pot. I’ve been testing this with good success:

    http://albopepper.com/albo-stein.html

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