As a relative newcomer to the world of online green organizing, I’m a bit atypical. After having spent 20 years in corporate marketing for high tech firms, I understand Big Business, and no, I don’t think all corporations are evil as some environmentalists believe. In fact, there’s not much I see in stark black versus white contrast – I see the shades of gray.
So when I hear about “campaigns” against various companies, I tend to cringe. I know that these “grassroots campaigns” are often well coordinated PR campaigns led by sophisticated organizations (sometimes competitors) with very definite agendas.
But the campaign to convince Clorox to recycle Brita water filters in North America is different. It’s led by a reasonable woman, someone who is a true activist and yet has a regular job with a real company — Beth Terry of the blog Fake Plastic Fish.
The first thing I asked myself when I heard about the campaign was, “Well, has she asked Clorox about their position?”
And of course she had. In fact, Beth had sent Clorox letters prior to starting the campaign, and she later posted the response letters from Clorox on her campaign website here. And since then, Beth has talked with Clorox representatives about their position that the refill cartridges are not recyclable – despite the fact that Brita filters are recycled in Europe!
Clorox is spending a lot of money going after green consumers through its acquisition of Burt’s Bees, its launch of Green Works cleaners, and its campaign to reduce plastic water bottle usage in favor of using Brita filtered water. As the saying goes, if you’re going to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. If Clorox truly is “going green,” it needs to re-examine its current business practices.
From the campaign website:
In August of 2007, Clorox and Nalgene teamed up for their FilterForGood campaign, encouraging people to buy a reusable Nalgene bottle and fill it with Brita filtered water in order to reduce plastic bottle waste. According to Clorox’s letter, “One pour-through filter can effectively replace 300 standard bottles of water (16.9oz)” and “…in 2006 Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles.”
So, if all 50 billion water bottles were replaced by Brita filter systems, that would mean 167 million plastic filter cartridges sent to the landfill! We’re all for giving up bottled water. But we think there’s a better way than substituting one kind of plastic waste for another.
What can you do? Join us in asking Clorox to develop a recycling program for Brita filters in the US and Canada. Check out Take Back the Filter to learn more about how you can help by signing the online petition, writing a letter to Clorox, sending in your used Brita filters, blogging about the issue, or donating to offset campaign expenses. And here’s some more ideas for how you can help spread the word.
More info available here at the campaign Facebook page too.