Monday, January 28, 2008

Egregious greenwashing

This story of the Bath, Maine McDonald's and their new-found commitment to recycling really frosted my cake. In my mind, the real story is that they have only recently begun to recycle, and that leads me to question how many other restaurants, or any businesses for that matter, are not recycling and at what cost to local communities?
So far, Fraser [the manager] said, only about 10 percent of the customers have caught on. But behind the counter — where store employees recycle storage containers, egg crates and plastic pickle boxes, among other things — the effort has cut the restaurant's total garbage output in half.

"Before we started recycling, we had 16 cubic yards of trash per week," he said. "Now we're down to eight."
At eight cubic yards of trash per week, in one year that's 416 cubic yards just for this one McDonald's Restaurant. Kudos to the manager for getting the program started -- he deserves a lot of credit for bucking the status quo -- but how is it that no one figured this out before?

I'm appalled that the Times Record covered this as a news story (page 3) and didn't ask a few challenging questions. A news story covering America's/McDonalds meaty habits can be found in today's NY Times. Mark Bittman, a food writer, did a great job with the story, raising really important issues facing the country and our apparently insatiable desire for inexpensive meat. Yeah, that's right, a food writer. Sheesh.


Vincent said...

It makes sound business sense to me to reduce garbage output thus reducing the refuse pickup bill. Now if only they could take the un-used, but edible, food and give it to the needy families in the area. I saw something about that on the news recently. I think it was on ABC.

Meg said...

Oooh, that pisses me off. I used to work at a Borders bookstore and they recycled cardboard and nothing else. It made no sense. Every morning when new magazine shipments are put out (5-10 40lb boxes of magazines) the old ones have their covers stripped off and sent to the publisher for credit, while the entire rest of the magazine is just thrown in the trash. Seriously, right out the back door into the trash dumpster while the cardboard dumpster is sitting ten feet away. I worked at a grocery store in high school and they didn't recycle, either.

Good for that McD's manager getting a program in place. It's astonishing to me that businesses like that aren't legally required to recycle--and that they don't recycle anyway, just for the public image boost.