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On Being Earth Friendly by (re)Design

From the Editor

It was a sticky, stormy, scary night in June when I toured the 100-year-old Univ. of Chicago Yerkes Observatory in Lake Geneva, WI. It was all the more foreboding for lack of electricity—except for what my failing flashlight provided along with Mother Nature in spectacular fashion. By chance I stumbled upon a time-worn phrase, posted in an exhibit area, attributed to one of the observatory’s founder/supporters: “Eat it up—Wear it out—Make it do.”

“Now that sounds like something my 99-year-old grandmother might say,” I commented to my colleague Claudia Hine, “and it sounds like a perfect lead-in for my September editorial when the cover features sustainability!”

Turns out after I did some research that the phrase originated back in 1943 on Prince Edward Island when its Wartime Prices and Trade Board launched a Conservation Program (visit

Apparently the press covered the effort prolifically, promoting ways citizens could do with less or conserve what they already owned. One textile company actually advertised the availability of a brochure that explained “How to Make Your Underwear Last Longer.”

One local journal featured ads that helped households adapt to circumstances during the war. It offered ways in which they could respond in a supportive manner as the military sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom. One ad beseeched everyone to make the phrase their motto for 1943.

There’s no doubt in ’43 there was a pervasive consciousness in the hearts and minds of many that effected sacrifices resulting in doing with less to support the World War II victory effort. That way of life was so ingrained that, to this day, many survivors of that time, including our parents and grandparents, still act in a “conservative” manner.

Today, however, as contemporary author, lecturer, philosopher, and scientist Peter Russell has observed: “We fear that giving up something will mean that we will be less happy in the future. It is this mode of consciousness that is unsustainable.”

In the absence of a world war for inspiration (thank goodness), we must achieve the desired outcome by consciously (re)designing those automated options that simplify our lives.

We can reduce the waste we produce with every daily action, for example, by simply turning off the lights. But there’s so much more we can do.

Why not opt for (re)designed products or utilities that produce less waste in the first place (to borrow from the Flexible Packaging Assn.) to fuel our unconscious acts? Utilize materials, machinery, and equipment that take these objectives to heart. Toward that effort in the coming year, PFFC’s editors will call out—with the aid of our earth-friendly butterfly icon—those products described as “green” or manufactured with the concept of “sustainability.” As well, the editors are working on other resources for our readers to inspire the production of more earth-friendly products or improve manufacturing operations. (You’ll hear more later.)

You’ll find this issue satisfies these objectives with Sheila Millar’s article that sets the stage on the regulatory scene ("Reduce & Comply"); Ed Boyle’s analysis of the hurdles posed by Wal-Mart’s scorecard ("Scoring the Scorecard") and of balancing your triple bottom line ("Be a Good Citizen"); David Lunati’s suggestions on how to create cost-effective and eco-conscious packaging ("5 Steps to Green"); and a case history covering how converter Sealed Air reaped environmental benefits by installing energy-efficient light fixtures ("Lights Lead the Way").

Hats off and thanks to KURZ Transfer Products for embellishing our front cover image to showcase its hot stamping foil with a tip-on cover insert.

And speaking of (re)designs, we hope you enjoy our anniversary gift to you as we celebrate PFFC’s 80th year of publication with the debut of a newly designed magazine. With special thanks to Michael Koch for his artistic genius, we welcome your comments. Shoot me an e-mail after you peruse the issue.

E-mail your feedback to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To read more editorials by Yolanda Simonsis, visit our Editorial Archives.

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