A new disease has hit C-Suites over the last 10 years. Translated from the Latin: “sustainability stupidity.”
Corporations have been falling over themselves hiring young fresh-from-college staffers as sustainability officers to make sure the company appears to be doing all it can to help the environment. This helps companies fend off rabid environmental activists who organize boycotts, protests and other distractions to force a company’s hand. These sustainability teams are well-intentioned, but their science and actual benefit to the planet is suspect.
Alaska Airlines is the most recent example. The company announced that it would ditch plastic water bottles replacing them with boxed water cartons. The move was promoted as helping Alaska “offset its footprint.” Yet replacement cartons are worse for the planet than plastic water bottles.
Cartons are made of glued layers of plastic, paper and aluminum. They are difficult to recycle. Many recycling programs reject these water boxes. A study from the Danish Environmental Protection Agency found it is actually better for the environment to burn cartons, rather than attempt to recycle them. Additionally, cartons don’t reduce greenhouse gas emissions over recycled bottles. And that’s according to a study funded by Tetra Pak, a carton manufacturer.
Read more in the Washington Times.