10 December 2007


We get a large number of solicitations for donations throughout the year. Usually from the sheriffs dept, or cancer society, or United Way, but we also get the local schools, and when our employees kids have fund raisers we seem a worthy target. We have our donations all set up, and I don't usually give to any random cause that walks through the door, but I will at least listen to the proposal, and/or look at the package they have put together. A donation request this week stopped me in my tracks with it's astounding lack of foresight. The wife of one of our guys works at a private school in town, and they are doing a fund raiser promoting environmental awareness and going green. Sounds like a worthy cause, right? Being in alternative energy we'd be a good candidate? Sure. Sounds like a win, win situation? Absolutely! Then he told me what they were doing with their Go Green theme. They are taking donations to put the donating company's logo on water bottles that they will sell, and/or give out at whatever little concerts or get together's their school has. PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES. To promote being green! At first I thought he was kidding. I asked him to clarify. Yup,he was talking about the individual plastic water bottles, like Evian, or Poland Springs. When the snicker snuck out of my mouth, he gave me a puzzled look and boldly pushed forward boasting about how MANY water bottles they were going to get, and wouldn't that be a great promotion to have our name on and very worthwhile for our company? I asked how they were going to encourage recycling them and got a deer in the headlights stare... HELLO? McFly! Anybody home?!?
These bottles are made of PET plastic derived from petroleum. (The point/focus of our business is to get people off of petroleum!) In the US (alone) we use over 30 billion of those bottles a year, or ~30 million a day! One billion bottles could make 72 million square meters of carpet for an idea of scale. According to the American Recycling Institute only 14% of those 30 billion are recycled. The rest go right into the landfills. That's well over 25 billion bottles used once (maybe-MAYBE twice) and tossed. Why not teach the kids NOT to use those little environmental bombs? Or design a pamphlet on why they should A- not use them and give some alternatives like the SIGG bottles and B- Why they should recycle if they have to use them occasionally, and where... I would pay a lot more money for that!
I will admit that I have purchased them on occasion, and do not always recycle them, but I do try to use them as many times as I can. Most importantly, I am not using one of our most needless environment clogging, and wastefully consumptive items to promote being green! To me that is like having a fire "safety" meeting giving out matches and hay then showing people how to easily start a fire. It really doesn't take a lot of common sense. How do you politely say that someone's 'go green' promotion is fatally flawed?


Yvonne said...

It seems like I am always having co-workers try to sell me stuff for their kids. I am just now finishing up the last box of girl scout cookies I felt I had to get!

Michelle L. said...

Ah, the stupid! It burns, it burns!! Plastic bottles....to promote being green. That is freaking priceless.