A bit of hypocrisy to commemorate Earth Day

As previously stated, I have the pridenaypleasure of working for an environmental consulting firm.

Without getting into the dull details of what working at an “environmental consulting firm” actually entails, I’ll just clarify and say it means we do a lot of work with making sure people meet the lowest standards of environmental cleanliness.  None of this “activism” shit.

Anywho, despite this, the company is quite proud of its environmental stewardship, and actually does an increasingly proficient job of attempting to be “environmentally-yay”.  We collect rain water to reuse, compost food scraps, recycle up to 80% of all waste, and recently had 40 solar panels installed on the roof.  Overall, we do a fairly good job at the whole Earth-conscious thing for a mid-sized company.

Despite this, there still remains a few glaringly environmentally hypocritical aspects about our business, i.e. that our president prints out every. single. email. he receives (granted, on scrap paper, and sometimes 2 to a page).  Mind you, we email him all of his phone messages and Microsoft Inbox automatically saves your emails – inbox, sent, deleted – and you can search within your folders.

However, my favorite Walk-the-Walk: Fail occurs in the kitchen.  Again, as previously stated in past entries, I’m lucky enough to work at a company where lunch is provided several times a week.  The aspect that bugs me about this, though, is that despite the fact that we have about 30 plates sitting in our cabinets, nearly every. single. person. uses PAPER PLATES.

YAY Environmental Fail

YAY Environmental Fail

Recently, I made a comment to a coworker about how this bothered me (Okay,  fine, the comment was, “NO! Use a real plate, dammit!”), and she told me that her reasoning for using a paper plate is that she doesn’t have a dishwasher at home, and has to do dishes at night and would prefer to just throw out her lunch plate since she can.

The president of the company told me he rinses off his paper plate and then recycles it, because it takes less time to wash than a regular dish and then has the benefit of being recycled.

Now, granted, we don’t have a dishwasher.  I know it is far more efficient to wash dishes in a machine than by hand.  But, honestly?  Isn’t NOT using an object in the first time better than recycling it?  And, yes, I understand the idea of washing takes energy, but before you start chucking out every plate you own, imagine the energy which goes into collecting, transporting, recycling, drenching, cleaning, and bleaching the product before it’s turned into something else.  Then you have to turn it into pulp, and remake it into another product… before collecting and transporting it yet again.

I understand recycling is good… as an alternative to throwing things out.  But generally, if you have the choice to not necessitate us taking even more from the earth?

Um. My way of not using shit in the first place wins.

So, in observance of Earth Day, let’s stand back and take a moment to breathe in the glory of Environmental Stewardship Hypocrisy 101.

YAAAAAAAY EARTH?

YAAAAAAAY EARTH?

And I shall now step down off my self-righteous platform of sanctimonious indignation.

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