Target: Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago
Goal: Don’t distribute Coca-Cola-branded recycling carts around the city
Recently, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a new partnership to help the city cover the costs of 50,000 new residential recycling bins around Chicago. In exchange for a $2.59 million grant, Coca-Cola will be allowed to display images of Coke and Minute Maid bottles on the bins themselves. Coke is clearly attempting to greenwash its brand through this deal, which will transform a previously neutral public utility into yet another advertising space. Chicago may be struggling to balance its budget, but corporate sponsorship is not the answer to the city’s financial woes. Urge Rahm Emanuel to stop Coke’s buyout of the city.
While promoting recycling is certainly important, promoting the excessive consumption of products that necessitate recycling is still harmful to the environment. Recycling plastic soda bottles may be preferable to simply throwing them out, but not buying soda in the first place is by far the greenest choice. By encouraging Chicago residents to purchase soft drinks, Mayor Emanuel will actually contribute to pollution and global warming. Both the production and the recycling of plastic drink bottles release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Coca-Cola products also exacerbate the obesity epidemic that plagues the United States. Drinking sweetened beverages elevates the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The receptacles necessary for a healthier earth shouldn’t also be used to promote an unhealthy lifestyle. Cities like New York and Boston have been fighting the corporate giant to limit the size of sodas and the way they can be advertised and sold. Meanwhile, Chicago has struck what is essentially an advertising deal with Coke itself.
Don’t let recycling bins turn into Coke billboards in Chicago. Urge Mayor Emanuel to use public funds to replace recycling carts instead.
Dear Mayor Rahm Emanuel,
Your recent agreement with Coca-Cola will turn an everyday utility into yet another method of advertising. Letting Coca-Cola pay for 50,000 new residential recycling carts in exchange for displaying the company’s products on the carts themselves pollutes Chicago with unnecessary and intrusive branding.
Recycling is definitely an essential service, but allowing Coca-Cola to use it to greenwash its brand is deceptive. Producing and recycling the plastic bottles necessary to contain soft drinks creates excessive emissions that could be avoided altogether if Chicagoans simply refrained from drinking soda.
A soda-free lifestyle also helps curb the risk of major health problems, like obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Chicago’s rising health care costs could be cut if residents adopted healthier lifestyles. But by slapping images of Coke products on recycling bins around the city, Chicago is sending the message that public health is less important than private funding.
I urge you to rethink your priorities and carefully consider your legacy as Chicago’s mayor. Please, don’t leave behind a term full of short-sighted attempts to secure funding at the expense of the public.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: erin english via Flickr