Thinking Inside The Box

30 03 2010

Nothing like a good recession to push a company on the brink of death into a fit of creativity. Like lush green sprigs that grows from the ashes of a windswept West Texas grass fire, sometimes new solutions are birthed from the cemetery of old ideas.

Such is the case of Clarion Technologies, a Michigan plastics company with once-strong ties to the automotive industry. Faced with an economy that went south (quite literally, I might add), and an industry that can’t give away vehicles, Clarion had to reinvent themselves. Or die.

And so it has repurposed itself as a consumer products company of the strangest kind: A maker of plastic caskets.

No kidding (watch the video clip here).

Isn’t it comforting to know that you, too, can be buried in what amounts to an enormous cloth-lined soda bottle? One that will probably never decompose? Pine boxes be damned, let’s go for eternity here.

If Clarion’s latest product line gives the company new life, the human landfills we know as cemeteries are going to be filled with the hermetically sealed remains of millions. Archaeologists in the 75th millennium A.D. will unearth acres of petroleum-based packaging with well-preserved human contents. And they probably won’t marvel at our use of oil, because by then there won’t be any to fuel our appetite for travel.

While part of me wants to give a high-5 to Clarion for deftly figuring out how elude the Grim Reaper, the other part of me says we need to be finding ways to cut down on our use of plastics. Heck, I’ll be darned if I want to be buried in something that will conceivably last as long as my soul (which I really do hope resides along a street paved in gold, nowhere near any lakes of fire). The green blood coursing through my environmentally-sensitive veins says we ought to be using less plastic, and recycling what we do use.

But if my heirs do bury me in one of these human pop bottles, I hope that Clarion has the social responsibility to at least put that friendly little triangle thingy in a visible spot. Make it a 1 or a 2. Because I want the archaeologist who unearths me to drop my bones back in the ground, and haul my box over to the dumpster in front of Walmart.

Dr “Clarion Call” Gerlich


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