In this post, I argue that the Coca-cola company is a potent social, and environmental indicator, and why you should pay attention to their environmentally friendly products, and campaigns.
A friend of mine recently posted this video on my facebook page (Thanks Sonja). Edit: The video has almost completely disappeared from the internet. It’s even been removed from Coca-colas own site. After 30 min of digging, I did find a video. You can read more about the caps that turn old coke bottles into squirt guns and shampoo dispensers here.
Many people believe because I am ‘Environmental Mona’ I would like this sort of initiative. Well, yes and no.
Although I am pleased that Coca-Cola is taking steps to increase product lifespan, I’m actually not a fan of this particular product. However, I am thrilled about it as an environmental, and social indicator.
Several of the ideas in this video are already being used as DIY projects in Asia. There is no need for a product like the one Coca-cola is selling here, because they are already being made. The DIY projects rose from an economic necessity, and now Coca-cola is mainstreaming them to make a buck.
At the same time, coca-cola is introducing several new products in the world, to extend the lifespan of one other product – in my view, an action that creates a greater problem than it solves.
You now have a situation, where you wanted to expand the life of one end-of-pipe-product (the empty bottle) but created, 10 new plastic things, that you need to buy to extend the life of that one bottle.
You have now generated more material that eventually has to be disposed of.
Also, there’s the ingenious soap-bobble extension. Wow, how fun. Now you’ll have kids begging their parents to buy a set of ten plastic items, to screw on empty soda bottles. And if they don’t have empty bottles?
Yep, buy more fizzy liquid sugar, in a plastic bottle.
From the above, you might think I really, really dislike this product. Well granted, I kind of do. But I also love it. I love it because it reveals so much more about the state of the world than Coca-cola knows.
When Coca-cola launches a product like this, it’s because there’s money to be made. They are putting this product out there because there is a marked for resource awareness. There is already a focus they can tap into.
It is also the reason why they’ve joined the 3D printer market (with an equally redundant 3D-printer). DIY and local manufacturing is a big wave and it will grow over the next decade.
I do not for a second buy into this greenwashing Coca-cola is trying to pull. In my view, this product creates far more waste than it eliminates. But they are one of the best environmental and social indicators out there. When they start making noise, you better listen because they will tell you where the money and the focus is. And what is really the underlying platform of money and focus? Need.
So what are they actually saying with this product? What kind of needs are out there right now?
1) We (the world) are producing to much waste, and need to change that
2) We (producers and consumers) need to expand the lifespan our products
3) We (the global community) have an interest in doing so, and a knowledge about why it’s important
Coca-cola is the canary in the coal mine. When the bird starts behaving differently, you should pay attention.
*Disclaimer: This is the part where I’m supposed to say, that none of this post is targeted directly at the Coca-cola company or any of its products, but who are we kidding. If they have a problem with this post, they can send me an e-mail.