We might like to think that the shift to digital photography is less wasteful that the film medium from days of yore. And whilst there may be an element of truth in this assumption, the photoigraphic industry is still prone to issues of packaging waste. So it was pleasing the hear that Olympus Imaging America is setting out to reduce their impact in this regard.
Olympus America reckon they'll eliminate 83 tons of plastic in a year, just by changing the format of the packaging for the audio products and xD-Picture Card packaging. In the later they'll lose 80% of plastic currently employed, by moving to paperboard, which will be printed soy and vegetable inks. (The media release we received doesn't indicate if that paperboard will have a recycled content or be Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.)
The company's senior vice president, Hirohide Matsushita,is quoted as saying the announcement is part of "a larger, global company strategy to develop products, services and production technologies with a careful and conscientious regard for environmental protection."
And this might just be so. Olympus has a chunk of their website devoted to promoting their environmental initiatives, which range from providing bicycle storage lockers for employees, indigenous plant species landscaping around their buildings, through to E-waste recycling programs "for end-of-life medical equipment (endoscopes) and their associated monitors, computers, light sources, cables, circuit boards, printers, and other ancillary devices."
One more unusual endeavour that particularly caught our attention was Olympus' Global Warming Witness Photo Contest.
If you have images of images of mountains, glaciers, seas, animals, plants, corals, etc endangered by environmental changes then you have until 30 November, 2008 to get them enetered. A panel of judges headed by wildlife photographer Mitsuaki Iwago will select those images which best "make more people aware of the critical state of global warming and help them understand the consequences." You can win photographic gear from Olympus for your efforts. The contest site even has a good backgrounder on what climate change is all about.
::Olympus Environmental program, via media release.