Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Greenwashing and Astroturfing

I saw a new low at the grocery store last week. Reynolds has repackaged their aluminum (Al) foil as made from 100% recycled (!) aluminum. And the familiar blue box is now mostly green with a tree growing across the front.

Never mind that all brands of Al foil have been made almost entirely from recycled aluminum since the 1970s. Even worse, they put together a press kit announcing this new/old product and the blogosphere has been astroturfed with their wonderful news.

At least for the last couple of decades, nearly all the aluminum in the US market is recycled. Al is simply too valuable to landfill. An analysis of the environmental impact of the Aluminum industry states
Recycling aluminum saves 95% of the energy used to produce aluminum from bauxite – mainly because it cuts out the energy intensive smelting processes.
In fact, the price of Al depends almost entirely upon the cost of energy.

When I was in high school (decades ago), I read that the entire Al can life cycle from grocery store shelf, soda consumption, recycling and back to the grocery store took place in under six weeks on average.

Whether you can buy the Reynolds or the store brand, you are buying recycled aluminum.

1 comment:

  1. Wow -- this is the height of hypocrisy. It never ceases to amaze me how the average American can distrust science, e.g., global warming, but take what corporate America says as gospel.

    Good catch on this.