Monday, October 20, 2008

Eco-silliness

Tonight's dinner was a vegetable pot from the ever hip and ecologically correct Innocent folks.

The packaging contained two glaring lies.

Firstly, they use a large symbol awfully close to the standard symbol for recyclable plastic (Innocent fruit pots are made of microwave safe plastic which is non-recyclable). The attached text offers lame suggestions about how you could reuse the pot.

Secondly, they claim that "No vegetables were harmed in the making of this product (apart from some light chopping)." This is untrue. Plants died to make this vegetable pot. Vegetables are not fruit - they don't want to be eaten (this is why vegetables are an acquired taste, whereas fruit is nice and sweet). Being chopped into small pieces is considered harmful.

Presumably Innocent think they can get away with this crap because a small company with smiley faces on its packaging just must be greener than a large food company. This confirms my suspicions that most greens are pointy-headed wowzers who want to make a lifestyle choice into a moral imperative.

You can save the world by driving and flying less, buying less stuff, and eating less meat. You can't save the world by buying a non-organic ready meal packaged in a non-recyclable container made from oil, even if it is made by a company whose owners talk about hugging trees in public.

6 Comments:

  • At 10:24 pm , Blogger Joe Otten said...

    To be fair, I think most greens, like the rest of us, don't trust marketing spiel.

    Recyclable. Whoopee. We couldn't be bothered to make this out of recycled material, but you can recycle it, there's a good chap.

     
  • At 10:25 pm , Blogger Rhetoric Innes said...

    people really should consider what food they consume and be aware of the gaseous inducing content.
    for instance baked bean eaters (that cause farting) should be criticised for the extra methane they project into the atmosphere and all cats should become fruitarians whether they like it or not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (only kidding)

     
  • At 1:05 am , Blogger Andy said...

    I think you're criticising the wrong people a bit here. As Joe said, most real greens are completely aware of the problems you point out in products like the one you describe. These are not products for real greens, who are more than aware that, as you say, the way to be green is "by driving and flying less, buying less stuff, and eating less meat," to which I might add buying locally. The consumers Innocent are targetting aren't real greens, they are average people who are aware of the environment, would like to think they are capable of making choices that help, but don't fundamentally want to make any actual sacrifices in their lifestyle.

     
  • At 6:40 am , Blogger Femme de Resistance said...

    I have never seen a man sent into a fierce and focused rage like LibertyCat upon reading the vegpot packaging! :)

     
  • At 9:13 am , Blogger Joe Otten said...

    The problem is that few if any products have a positive environmental impact. They can only be positive in comparison to a rival product which may or may not have been the buyer's next choice anyway.

    The only way to approach accuracy would be to put something like a carbon footprint on everything. But this would send a negative message for every product. No wonder there is little enthusiasm.

    Even an 'energy saving' or renewable microgeneration product should say: footprint x kg; saving y kg per year compared to specific alternative z.

    Unfortunately these numbers involve a great deal of guesswork, and it would be a huge burden to enforce them on every product. Perhaps it could be required on certain classes of product, or on products making green claims.

    As it is, is this any worse than cosmetics technobabble?

     
  • At 8:25 pm , Blogger LibertyCat said...

    Andy, I left buying locally out of the list deliberately - long-distance sea and rail freight is incredibly energy-efficient . The only food miles that matter are by air (a bit) and by car between supermarket and home (a lot). Buying locally is closer to lifestyle environmentalism than save-the-planet environmentalism.

    On your main point, I know real greens exist - I have met several. They don't seem to be very many though - remember that anyone who lives in the countryside and is not a full-time farmer (a group that includes most serious greens) is either not serious about the environment or making a big mistake.

     

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