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These are thoughts I’ve had for a long time. I think about writing something but never do it. Today has another trigger point in the news, so I’m pushing through and writing something. McDonalds is announcing that they are ditching their McFlurry spoons for a “more sustainable option.” From the article, “This small change will help reduce single-use plastic waste in restaurants – while giving customers the same delicious McFlurry they know and love,” McDonald’s said. “That’s a win-win in our book.”
Many years ago, Rush had insight to what these companies are really doing. Companies are always trying to reduce costs and increase profits. What the green movement gives them is cover for these monetary decisions. The company reduces supply costs, says that they’re really looking out for the environment, and it is a win-win. Material costs go down and they get plaudits from environmental groups. Will the decision make a noticeable difference to the environment? Doesn’t matter. The company can say that they are doing something, all the while shaving pennies off the unit price of production.
The frustrating part is how structurally weak products have become. One planned post-starter I had was a couple years ago when I was checking out at the grocery store. I bought something, maybe eggs, and the cashier warned me as she scanned them that the manufacturer had changed packaging and I needed to be careful handling it so it wouldn’t break on me and spill the contents. Another place I noticed changes is in two-liter bottles. It used to be I could pour a glass of the beverage with one hand. Now, the bottle will bend under the weight of the contents and I’ve had a thumb pinched between the lip and bottle as it bends in two. Plastic bags rip more easily. Paper grocery sacks are thinner and tear frequently when I unload the car.
I had planned to write something in May on the topic. I live in Albuquerque and my house is around 5,300 feet of elevation. My daughter had an end-of-year camping event for her American Heritage Girls group on the east side of the mountains. The campsite was around 7,200 feet. When I left for work Monday morning, I noticed this partially filled water bottle left in my truck. The thin-walled bottle was affected by a slight 2,000-foot change in elevation. It was enough to push in the sides. Notice the thin cap as well. Look greenies, we’re saving the environment.
I don’t begrudge companies making a profit. That’s what they’re there for. That, and to provide a service that the customer wants. What I don’t like is the appeal to environmentalists when they are really cutting production costs. Rush wanted conservationists to start claiming the color blue to differentiate themselves from the greens. He said that since the earth’s surface is 75% water, there’s more blue, and therefore we could claim to care more about the earth. It never caught on.Published in