Green Watch

Green Notes: January 2012

In October, 2011 Coca-Cola announced it would be changing its iconic red cans to a polar white from November to March to draw attention to its partnership with the World Wildlife Fund to protect the habitat of polar bears.  Unfortunately, as the Associated Press reported, “…the change evoked a not very warm or fuzzy reaction from some Coke drinkers.  Some complained the new cans were too similar to Diet Coke’s silver cans. Others thought the soda inside tasted different and went online to complain.”  Coke acquiesced to public uproar and pledged to add “red cans to the mix in response to consumer requests.”  Meanwhile, a polar bear eating a dead seal carcass on an ice flow in the North Pole had no comment on the controversy.

In a report prosaically titled “Industrious Subversion – Circumvention of Oversight In Solid Waste and Recycling In New Jersey,” New Jersey’s State Commission of Investigation claims that various unsavory characters with ties to organized crime are raking in millions in the Garden State’s green recycling industry. According to the report, “… emerging global markets in recycling, including commerce in so-called ‘e-waste’ – the reclamation and resale of junked computer components and other high-tech electronic detritus – offer financially attractive, yet thoroughly unregulated avenues of diversification for legitimate and corrupt business interests alike.” Looks like the mob finally got hip to the real money-making racket – the green industry.

For all you who put up a fake tree last month in hopes that it was an eco-friendly way to celebrate Christmas, some bad news via National Geographic: Fake trees are fake environmentalism. As Rick Dungey, spokesperson for the National Christmas Tree Association, put it, “All of the environmental groups and all of the scientists say you should use a real tree. The debate is over… The only people still talking about it are the people trying to sell fake trees.” Why? “Artificial trees are made from a kind of plastic called polyvinyl chloride, which is derived from petroleum and can contain lead or other harmful toxins. Furthermore, according to the U.S. Commerce Department, about 80 percent of fake trees are manufactured in China, where most electricity is generated by burning coal—one of the dirtiest fuel sources.” Plus, real trees smell better.