Monday, May 3, 2010

Plastic Cups with Environmental Messages for KIDS???

Below are two pictures from a concerned parent, and reader of The Daily Ocean,
Wendy Chambers AKA goldensgreengirl.

She contacted me a little while back with these thoughts:

I thought you might be interested in this story:

A couple of weeks back I was visiting a family member in BC, Canada... at a restaurant named Kelseys.

I asked for a orange juice drink for my daughter and they gave me this cup.

I was totally astounded, this cup is made of polypropylene and has a depiction of abundant marine life on it !!! endorsed by Discovery Kids

- my first thought was this is a total contradiction and then this turned to anger...... I need help or advice in finding out how these marketing companies can get it sooooo wrong and get away with this producing this plastic cup with this image on?

The "funny" thing was that on the very next day while walking on the beach with a friend in Santa Monica, I found the cup pictured below.
It says on it - "BE GOOD TO THE EARTH - IT'S OUR HOME" - sponsor unknown
A group of woodland creatures has gathered around this red-headed boy, and brown haired girl to plant a tree. Other characters that have joined are two recycling bins with big smiley faces (creepy), and windmills in the background. WOW.

So I will ask you the same question. How do we influence corporations to stop "getting it so wrong" when it comes to environmental advertising geared towards the youth, and well polluting the environment at the same time?


  1. What a great post - it's the hardest question of all. Please indulge me while I share my feelings on this too... Possibly, the only way to have any real influence is to lead by example and reject plastic cups/bottles in supermarkets, coffee shops, on the train and so on. Since it's becoming so tough to make an eco-friendly choice at the point of purchase, the easiest way is to fill up with cordial, water, tea or coffee in a sport flask at home. Oh and what a money saver - double bonus :) On the other hand, contacting the corporations is an interesting exercise too and a way to be a thorn in their side. Here's a similar story, this time about the madness of the bottled water industry. A few months ago I stumbled upon a pop up ad called 'Bottled Water Isn't That Bad' from the Natural Hydration Council. How odd, I thought. What is this these sensible-sounding organisation supporting a product which is an environmental hazard and hopefully set to become as socially uncool as plastic bags. It turned out, that the Natural Hydration Council is a lobbying group run by Nestle, Danone, Evian, Volvic, posing as some kind of health advisory council. Find out more at . Well, they got a strongly worded letter (to their generic email address) and I got a personal response. Their argument was that bottled water is better than soft drinks. No - water is better for you than soft drinks and most of us can get that free from our taps.... I can feel this turning into a rant so I'll stop. Thank you again Sara for providing this amazing platform for such interesting topics and to Wendy for highlighting your story. :)

  2. This is, unfortunately, not much different than the marketers that use kids favorite characters for fast/junk food.

    I think the biggest thing that we can do is to not accept these products. We all have the ability to change the market by what we buy (or in this case accept) or don't. When people stop accepting these "conveniences" they will disappear. I have 3 children and when we go out to eat I always ask for their drink in a regular glass/cup... NO... styrofoam or kids cups. I often get looks of confusion... like they're wondering how in the world a 7, 5, and 3 year old are going to be able to drink without a kids cup and they always double and triple check with me to make sure that I'm sure. I always tell the server, "We don't use them at home... they're good. Thanks." BUT the other night at Mellow Mushroom we had the most AWESOME server... when I told her they would be fine with regular cups she said, "That's SO cool. Awesome." YAY!!

    A tip if you have kids that need a kids cup... bring your own reusable travel cup :)

    Oh and I'm sure you've seen this commercial. It littered the movie theaters this past summer... irks me.

  3. I have to say that this kind of marketing is not left to just the kids. The Earth Day Coalition hosts an annual Earth Fest at the Cleveland Zoo. The vendors give out tons of paper flyers that are going into the trash. Most surprising is the steel bottle that was given out to VIP pass holders. I appreciate that the bottle is meant to replace plastic water bottle, but on close inspection, they were made in China. So they used steel shipped from Asia (probably made from ore mined in the US) to make a bottle to promote being green. At trade shows, cheap crap that is going to end up in the landfill in a few short weeks is often used as promotional material for give aways to promote green companies.... This is an irony that I have written about on my blog ( more than once.