J500 Media and the Environment


Really, Wal-Mart? by amandat09
April 24, 2009, 1:34 pm
Filed under: Energy + Climate, Society + Media, Waste + Recycling

Buy more stuff, save the environment. This seems to be the attitude of a plethora of companies out there that try to convince you that buying more things can make you more green. I recently saw a Wal-Mart commercial for a Bissel Little Green vacuum cleaner, that boasted it was made from 50 percent recycled content. Nothing wrong with that, I thought– but I listened to the rest of the commercial. The woman said “if every Wal-Mart customer, all 2 million of them, bought a Bissel Little Green, that would be like saving a million bags of trash!” (I couldn’t find the commercial online, but I’m pretty sure 1 million was the number.) The woman in the commercial failed to mention that in buying 2 million more vacuums, old ones would be thrown away. The fuel cost of shipping these little vacuums would impact the environment. The sheer volume of new material purchased would be anything but little, and certainly anything but green.

I’m all for buying responsible products, but to come out and say that purchasing something would increase the amount of recycling doesn’t make too much sense to me.

environment

Americans are often considered among the most wasteful people on the planet, but we need to buy more things? Americans already throw away almost 5 pounds of trash a day. We can afford to be big-time consumers, but real environmental problems can be at least partially relieved by just using and buying fewer items…. my mom used to save glass jelly jars what we would use as juice cups. You don’t need to buy chemical cleaning agents when baking soda and vinegar work just as well. Buying second-hand clothes or trading or sharing with friends means you don’t have to buy new ones. It’s little, easy things that can help reduce the amount of materials is takes one person to live. Buying new products is not the answer.

Amanda Thompson

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3 Comments so far
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I haven’t seen that commercial, but it reminds me of this other Wal-Mart commercial from a few years back — watch it here — for T-shirts made out of Coca-Cola plastic bottles. In the ad, they say: “If every Wal-Mart shopper, all 200 million of us, bought one, it would be like recycling over half a billion plastic bottles!”

No, not really (like you say here in your post!). The product that’s made out of the recyclables is definitely offsetting the ‘green’ aspects of recycling plastic bottles in the first place.

I didn’t really know what “sustainable” meant until a few years ago, but I think understanding that term, and knowinghow to live that way, has made me realize that buying “green” things really isn’t always “green.” It’s just a matter of explaining sustainability to those who don’t understand, i.e. someone who would buy that vacuum or T-shirt.

Comment by jessicasb

[…] Amanda Thompson writes: The woman said “if every Wal-Mart customer, all 2 million of them, bought a Bissel Little Green, that would be like saving a million bags of trash!” (I couldn’t find the commercial online, but I’m pretty sure 1 million was the number.) The woman in the commercial failed to mention that in buying 2 million more vacuums, old ones would be thrown away. The fuel cost of shipping these little vacuums would impact the environment. The sheer volume of new material purchased would be anything but little, and certainly anything but green. […]

Pingback by The Writing On The Wal » Blog Archive » KILLING THE PLANET, ONE SALE AT A TIME…

I agree Jessica. There are certainly more responsible products out there, but buying more stuff, no matter what it is, is never the only answer!

Comment by amandat09




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