Greenwashing: Our Recylcables, Part 2

See Part 1.

          So that’s not so surprising. Waste Management, the company that takes away my recyclables, engages in some greenwashing. They got together with a few dozen other companies, like Monsanto and Chevron, in the Wildlife Habitat Council to show how much they care. Then that council turns around and gives conservation awards to the companies that fund the group. Waste Management received the 2010 WHC Community Partner of the Year Award. Those corporations then turn around and give awards to the council. Chevron gave the WHC its 1994 Conservation Award.

          Note that there are well-established conservation groups, such as the Wild Turkey Federation and Ducks Unlimited, that are also members of the council and work with the companies. Waste Management, for example, worked with the local Audubon Society to improve bird habitats near the local landfill.

          In 2012, the WHC got about $375,000 from gifts and grants, $600,000 form membership dues (corporate donations), $235,000 in “other revenue,” and another $1.3 million from “program service revenue” (See here for data). As far as I can tell from the WHC’s website, this last source of revenue is mostly likely from their certification program. They certify their own conservation programs. And they charge for it. So, from what I can tell, Waste Management, a member of WHC, gave them more money to certify the conservation project at my local landfill, the project that is in fact part of a WHC program. That’s pretty circular.  As another example of the incestuousness of their relationship: WM gets a “guest blogger” from the WHC to write about how great WM is on their own “Thinking Green” blog.

          I’m glad for the birds. I want the lakes and the river around the landfill to be full of birds and fish. But does Waste Management really need to go through all of the deceit? Afterall, I had no idea that the WHC or the conservation program existed before I started looking into my waste and digging into Waste Management. Hey WM, the WHC certification is hopelessly compromised, so just help the birds and save yourselves a few bucks. Quit putting on the show.

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