Earth Day? For Real?

I got a flyer in the mail from Price Chopper yesterday.  Normally I just toss these.  They may have better prices on some things now and again, but it isn’t worth traveling extra distance to get there.  I save more in transportation costs by going somewhere closer.  But this flyer caught my eye.  At the top, on an extended page that stuck out of the middle, was a banner reading “Together, We Can do Our Part to Make Every Day Earth Day!”  Oh really?

First, Price Chopper, you are sending me a flyer that I do not want or need.  It requires paper, ink, transportation, labor, and I will not even look at it.  How does that make Earth Day every day?  Second, what exactly do you mean?  The small print says to “see pages 4 & 5.”  The first thing I see on those pages is an inset spread with “certified organic” produce.  That is a good start (although it is only USDA organic) but all three things listed are in plastic tubs.  Spring greens (two types) and strawberries, shipped across the country in plastic bins?  Earth Day?

The flyer lists three things I can do (“You Can Help!”).  The first suggestion is to recycle my plastic bags at the store.  How about not taking them at all?  The second tells me to use compact fluorescent light bulbs.  Done.  The third:  “Shop locally to save gas and the environment.”  That is why I do not need the flyer and do not shop there.  Thanks.

Then they list three things they can do (We Can Help!).  First they tell me they recycle 1,700 tons of plastic each year.  That is good, but reducing plastic in the first place would make a bigger difference.  Second: “Price Chopper installed low energy LED Lighting in new and recycled stores.  Other than not having much clue what a “recycled” store is (turning an old building into one of their stores?) this is great.  I believe that one day we will leave compact fluorescent bulbs behind and use only LED lights.  They use way less energy.  Finally, they note that “Price Chopper uses local farmers each year for produce.”  On that one I am curious just how much local produce they use.  A few pumpkins in the fall hardly will make a difference, but as much as possible would make a difference.

The flyer seems like one more feel-good marketing gimmick.  Inside the flyer are:

  • Cut flowers, probably shipped thousands of miles and grown with bundles of pesticides
  • A variety of ham products from pigs raised, I am sure, on nasty factory farms
  • Lemons sold in plastic mesh bags
  • Plastic tubs of margarine
  • Cans of whipped cream
  • Bottled water
  • Plastic “candles”
  • Aluminum foil baking pans
  • Paper napkins wrapped in plastic

Earth Day every day?  I will buy some of these things at some point in the future, I am sure, even though I try to avoid them.  But let’s cut down on the Earth Day crap.  If every day were Earth Day we would not be buying any of the items listed above, and Price Chopper would not be selling them.  Maybe someday we will get there, but it ain’t happening this year. Price Chopper is making some good progress. Cutting down on flyers that don’t get read would be another step in the right direction.

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