As I write this, it’s spring break for my two boys. Since they don’t have to go to bed on time during vacation, I took my younger son James to my bowling night. As some of you know, I bowl every Wednesday. I grew up around the corner from a bowling alley, which taught me two skills: 1. bowling, and 2. being able to lug a ball half a mile to get to the lanes from my house! Back to bowling night…
I’d hoped my youngest son James would have come to root for my team, but all he really wanted was to drink Sprite and play redemption games in the arcade. I didn’t mind because back when I was a kid, my dad gave me and my brother unlimited money to play games. Can you imagine being in this industry and saying “no?” So I gave him $20 and told him to have fun.
And did he have fun. He got his bazillion tickets and traded them in for a whole bunch of army guys, each housed in its own little plastic egg capsule. He spent the rest of the night playing war with those little guys while I bowled…decently…thanks for asking.
Then something he asked got me thinking. James noticed that all of his army guys could fit in one plastic egg, so why did they all have an egg of their own? I explained that that’s how each prize is distributed and that’s how the machine knows what toy to give out when you win. Then he asked me what he should do with all of his empty eggs. I said that we would have to take them home and recycle them.
Now, I know I may sound a little excessive, but that’s a lot of plastic to toss in the trash, and that’s just one kid in one arcade in one part of the world. Remember that the “garbage patch” in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii is now twice the size of Texas, and it’s mostly made up of floating plastic? I kid you not!
I recycle a ton of paper at the office. Obviously, we have more than our fair share and I’m always trying to conserve or make more eco-friendly choices like drinking from reusable water bottles or walking to the store instead of driving. But maybe it’s time for our industry to get more “eco” itself and replace those plastic eggs with something bio-degradable? Maybe it can be as simple as putting a “recycle your eggs here” can next to your counter (you could even refill them). And while we’re at it, make more prizes that won’t last 250 years in a landfill? Just a thought.
–– Ingrid Adlum Milkes