|November 19, 2008|
|Recycling Scrutinized; Rays Gouge Their Fans; Skinny Doesn't Sell|
|By Greg Hazley|
|While the green era is entrenched among us, one long-held tenet of the environmental movement has come under scrutiny: recycling.|
Long the backbone of the righteous, environmentally conscious citizen, recycling got a renewed (no pun intended) look at its efficacy from Popular Mechanics magazine this month.
What could be better than re-using the material from a product that has already been spent, right? Well, what if more energy is going into to hauling material and producing the recycled product? That would certainly take the wind out of the sales of many a green citizen and marketing campaign.
PM’s Alex Hutchinson took an in-depth look at whether we’re doing more harm than good in recycling 82 million tons of garbage each year. The magazine is followed up on a New York Times Magazine piece from the 1990s that found some contradictions and inconsistencies in the recycling craze – for example, saving a tree creates less demand for wood pulp so timber companies sell their tree farms … maybe to condo developers.
But the price of recyclable products has risen since then and some municipalities are getting paid for their waste when, at the outset of recycling, towns were previously paying to have it hauled away.
The answer to the question about recycling, like most big questions in our society, is “it depends,” although it seems like an overall positive to me.
As PM notes, it takes 96 percent less energy to make aluminum from recycled cans than it does from its raw form of bauxite. Net win for recycling there as there is with plastic bottles (76 percent less) and newsprint (45%). But recycled glass only uses about 21 percent less energy than starting from scratch, and some materials are “downcycled” into products that can’t be further recycled like synthetic clothing fibers or carpets.
Bad PR Play of the Day: The Tampa Bay Rays, the worst-to-first franchise whose fairytale season ended abruptly in the World Series last month, are raising ticket prices on their fans, who saw the first winning season in Rays history in 2008. Granted, the increase is relatively small. But any increase in this economic climate is a bad play. The PR-challenged NFL, by contrast, said last week it would cut playoff tickets prices by 10 percent and wound up with this PR-staffer-couldn’t-have-written-it-better headline from Reuters: “Price of NFL Playoff Tickets Lowered to Help Fans.”
Svelte Sells? Further validating the Edelman-assisted Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, researchers in Australia found that skinny models could be turning off consumers in advertising while plus-sized models could be sparking them to buy. Female consumers in the coveted 18 to 25 demo said they felt better and more likely to buy a product after viewing images of “larger” models after responding indifferently to the thin spokeswomen.
Cheers for the Downturn: The old joke that liquor stores and lawyers always see a recession boom is proving to at least be half-true. Although the Times reported that even law firms are swinging the ax these days, the Daily News said today that the booze business is providing at least some hope for New Yorks. As all else is failing for many in the Big Apple, bartending school is looking better and better. Bartending schools have seen an enrollment spike of as much as 25 percent, the News reported today, as folks look for second (or first) recession-proof jobs in the pubs.
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