Greenwashing at 30,000 feet


I was on an airplane on Monday, which is a machine that burns massive amounts of fuel so that people can travel distances they have no business traveling. (Myself included, of course.) And it was "lunchtime," so the flight attendants were handing out menus listing processed, plastic-wrapped, probably non-organic, what-can-local-possibly-even-mean-up-here foods available for purchase at approximately $19.99 per mouthful. And pouring bottled water into plastic cups and handing each passenger two bags of peanuts, since one bag contains so few peanuts that it’s almost insulting. (How’s that for efficient packaging?)

And announcing on the PA that "since Delta is a green company, we will be collecting the menus after you have placed your orders."

You have to admire the sheer chutzpah of that opening clause. No "striving to be," no "always improving." Just "Delta is a green company." It’s the make-your-own-truth approach to PR, I suppose. And it’s really quite funny that corporations can now pat themselves greenly on the back just for doing stuff that makes sense. (Restaurants figured out the multiple-use menu concept a loooooong time ago.)

In the Atlanta airport, I did see a smart initiative: single receptacles for trash and recycling, with prominent posted assurances that everything will be separated later and properly dealt with. If that’s true, it’s a great idea. The less we have to rely on folks to conscientiously sort their own stuff, the better. Especially when said folks are lugging the old suitcase they’ve had since before college, one of whose wheels broke long ago, since they are a green blogger and will not wastefully purchase a new suitcase.