Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Reducing packaging on monthly deliveries

Ferdinand Cheval, Rural Postman and Fantastic Architect
Ferdinand Cheval, Rural Postman and Fantastic Architect

Ferdinand Cheval
Ferdinand Cheval, who was born in 1836 and died on 19th August, 1924, was a French postman who spent 33 years of his life building an "Ideal Palace" (French Palais idéal) which is regarded as an extraordinary example of naïve art architecture.

To boost my immune system and get my body to work properly , I take vitamins, minerals and supplements. I guess its the norm now, despite eating what we believe to be a healthy diet, I still have a form of malnutrition. It simply means that my body is missing a few vital elements for optimum energy and taking a pill seems to be an easy way to deal with that.( I am working on addressing that imbalance through nutrition).

To make life a lot easier, I chose to have them delivered monthly and bought into setting up a wholesale account ( not that I use it in quantities, I just thought that doing that would save me money). What seemed like a good decision has now been scientifically proven to be not so good. It can be better and needs an adjustment.

For convenience sake, I have the same order each month and it arrives promptly in a small cardboard package with small polystyrene peanuts in it. The cardboard gets recycled and the peanuts saved for when I send off a package later in the year ( holiday time). That takes me 10 mins to do.

Each time a package gets sent, a cardboard box gets created, filled, despatched, travelling by air, in van to arrive at my doorstep. For this privilege I pay £ 8.00 per month postage. ( Over 1 year that makes £ 96.00.)

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that if I were to order a whole year's supply in one go ( minding the expiry dates on the bottles - 2 years from now), I would still be charged £8.00 postage and packaging. So still a £ 91.00 difference.

I then looked at the difference between my wholesale account and buying it direct online and noticed that if I put in an order for a year's supply, the difference would be £ 80.00.

The conditions to having the wholesale price is that I need to order every month to keep my status and although very convenient in the long term it is not saving me any money and grinds somewhat due to the miles and packaging it creates doing so. Ordering the quantity for 1 year also allows me to order a larger bottle holding 3 months supply cutting out 2 smaller plastic bottles to recycle.

Ordering yearly, without wholesale discount will therefore not cost me any more and will save £ 11.00, 11 cardboard packages being sent by air,. van, manpower to be delivered to me as well as 2 hours of my time. I will end up with less polystyrene peanuts to store and will have to find space for more vitamin containers but in the end, that seems a better way to achieve the same result.

One slight hiccup is that ordering a whole year's supply is making an initial dent in my account, in order for time and packaging to be saved . To restore financial balance, I will add the amount I would have paid each month into my savings account and then when the time comes to reoorder next year the money will be there waiting with interest.

Point to ponder : If you order something monthly, what is it costing you in time, packaging and can it be done in a different way?

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