Bells and Whistles Can Distract Consumers From the Truth
Coke’s Dasani brand has introduced a new kind of plastic bottle, 30 percent of which is made from plant-based materials. (Please explore this phenomenon further via Jennifer Grayson’s blog at The Red, White and Green.) The ad declares that the bottle is made with “100 percent recyclability.” This, of course, refers to the idea of consumers placing their empty water bottles into a recycling bin to be reconstituted for further use at a later time. But, if only 25 percent of plastic bottles actually reach the recycling bin, does 100 percent recyclability have much meaning? I think it does — it’s meaning is to distract consumers from how damaging the product is to the environment, especially since the remaining 75 percent of plastic bottles end up in landfills.
Seeing an ad with a vibrant green plant blooming into a plastic bottle from the heart of its lovely pedals is enough to convince many consumers that a product is eco-friendly, but it’s merely a distraction. It’s up to us to know that the product within that fancy, useless bottle is actually something that already belongs to us, regardless of what kind of bottle is used to contain it. Plant bottle or plastic bottle, buying bottled water is destructive and not at all necessary.
The Aquapod is another example of a bad idea that distracts us with bells and whistles. What do you do when the fish farming industry’s equipment makes the landscape (or, in this case, the oceanscape) aesthetically displeasing? Hide it! At least, that’s what Ocean Farm Technologies, maker of the Aquapod, seems to believe.
The Aquapod is a geodesic dome-shaped factory fish farm that floats under the water line, instead of on top of it — same destructive impact on the environment, different shape! Net pens, whether you can see them or not, are not doing us, marine life or the environment any favors. When fish are contained in net pens, the cramped and stressful conditions can create an ideal environment for parasites and illnesses. Of course, the fish can also escape, which can threaten the local ecosystem, when they intermix with wild fish, potentially changing their natural behaviors and out-competing wild fish for food, habitat and mates. Net pens also contribute to pollution from excess fish waste, fish feed, pesticides, antibiotics and other chemicals used on the fish or cages. Still excited about the new shape of net pens?
Plant bottles and net pens are bad ideas wrapped up in distracting green packaging. These are merely product alterations that attempt to placate consumers into thinking that continued support of a product can save the environment when it’s the actual product that’s the problem.