11 January 2010

The Environment Is Just Grist For Our Mill

There's not much I enjoy about the humorless earnestness of green culture, but one thing that I find quite entertaining is how it is being coopted by businesses in order to push costs onto consumers.

A few examples:

Hotels now try to guilt guests into reusing their towels, relieving the hotel of the cost of doing its laundry.

Supermarkets now sell reusable grocery bags, relieving them of the need to provide bags, paper or plastic, and making the shopper do the work of schlepping their bags to the store.

It's nice to see that, to a capitalist, Environmentalism is just another way of making money.

Do you have any other examples? I would think that employment would be a fertile ground for this sort of thing, but perhaps we're all too suspicious of our employers.


erp said...

It's not for green effect, but it is a money maker -- expecting us to pump our own gas.

David said...

Speaking of which, how could I have missed the biggest one -- the Prius.

Pay thousands of dollars to haul around hundreds of pounds of batteries -- it's for the environment.

Mike Beversluis said...

Organic Food - pay extra to take beat-up produce off agribusiness's hands. "Fair Trade" too.

I'm not so sure about pumping gas. It feels very weird to me to not do it, e.g., when I visit my sister in OR. Plus, gas stations are a low-margin business - they make all their money on Slushy's, pork-rinds, and cigarettes - so it's more like a public works program when a state requires someone else to pump your gas.

Brit said...

My busines has had to radically alter because of firms replacing printed customer publications with PDFs, newswires etc... for "environmental" reasons (ie. save costs).

I can't wait to start explaining how the green movement is all a corporate conspiracy to some of my green pals.

Talking of unintended consequences, I also heard that the ban on cigarette advertising greatly boosted tobacco company profits, since they no longer needed to spend millions on competing with each other's marketing.

Harry Eagar said...

A friend of mine is a millionaire thanks to aluminum recycling. We pay 6.5 cents deposit, he gives us 5 cents back, pockets the difference and sells the aluminum. Sweet.

David said...

Brit: I've heard that about tobacco, too, but I'm not sure that it's an unintended consequence.

In the US, the bans happened right after the states cut themselves in for a portion of the tobacco companies' profits. Odd how regulation so often looks like cartelization.