One of the LUSH company’s “unwrapped” products
Volunteer workers at dozens of cosmetics stores have begun promoting their products while wearing nothing but an apron and a smile – and sometimes panties if local laws require it – in an effort to highlight the wastefulness of “wrappings.”
The campaign has been launched by the LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics company, which confirmed employees at 27 stores across the country “will lead a cheeky protest urging shoppers to go ‘naked’ by purchasing products free of packaging.”
“The environment is one of the biggest global issues we face today,” the company said in its announcement about the campaign, which was launched this week. “In order to combat climate change and to protect the Earth’s scarce natural resources, shoppers need to take action by avoiding packaged goods.”
The company warned against the dangers of “loose fruit individually shrink-wrapped,” the use of plastic carrier bags and all the plastic bottles used for shampoo packaging.
“Packaging contributes to 2 percent of overall greenhouse gases and plastic uses 8 percent of the world’s oil resources,” the company said. “With the U.S. consuming 79.6 million tons of packaging each year, over half of which still ends up in landfills, the time to tackle our packaging addiction is now.”
In Boulder, Colo., LUSH workers Leah Mahanti and Barrett Smith were wearing aprons and underwear in deference to city restrictions on complete nudity, and they were urging consumers to buy their products.
“This is a fun, cheeky way to get a serious message across,” Allie Leung, a LUSH spokeswoman, told the Denver Post.
If it catches people’s attention for the half an hour we don’t have clothes on, then it’s worth it,” Mahanti told the newspaper. “We want to spotlight what packaging does to the environment.”
The Post reported Boulder shoppers politely declined the information offered by the workers while averting their eyes. There were those, of course, who wanted pictures.
“Now my friends can see that I was here,” Eric Wu, a Boulder social networking company worker said. But others were less than impressed.
“It scared me away from the no-packaging idea,” Page Windsor, 26, of Boulder, told the newspaper. “Sometimes clothes are a good thing.”
LUSH founder Mark Constantine says packaging is “rubbish,” and “for too long we have had to suffer excessive amounts of it.”
“Now that the true financial and environmental costs are becoming obvious, customers are challenging manufacturers and retailers to cut the wrap,” he said.
He said his company sells “naked” products that don’t require plastic bottles, including shampoo bars, conditioners, massage bars, body butters and others. The company boasts that last year alone about three million plastic bottles were not manufactured, hauled, sold and thrown away because of its efforts.
The site included “Professor Schpinkee’s greenhouse calculator,” which tells a user when he or she should die, based on their lifestyle and consumption of resources.
The “calculator” is made like a children’s video game, with cartoon characters who look like a detective dog and a pig, and asks, “How big a greenhouse pig are you?”
That list includes more than 9,000 Ph.D.s in fields such as atmospheric science, climatology, Earth science, environment and dozens of other specialties.
“There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate,” the petition states. “Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”
The Petition Project was founded by Art Robinson, a leading science expert.