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Local Recycler Condemns "Demeaning" National Ad

This video is based on a scene from Love, Actually (a mostly terrible movie husbands saw because our wives dragged us there).  

My issue with this video the request to take all my plastic bags back to the retailer.  How about ... no.  I use them in my small trash cans around the house, and they go out with the regular garbage like God intended.  

Besides, which employee at Hy-Vee wants to be the one to take all of your loose, plastic, grocery bags?  "Yeah, great, let me just take these off your hands so I can do ... something ... with them."  They can't re-use them -- I guess they're supposed to recycle them, and isn't that the same as putting them in your recycling bins?!?

Anyway, here's the e-mail I received this morning from something called the "Benson Plant Rescue."  Dr. Hibler immediately goes on my Naughty List for what he says about Santa.  Otherwise, he makes a few good -- if self-righteous -- points:

Karen Bowden and all at Recycling Partnership

Dear Karen and All,

We love what you do. And we’re trying to do our part too. But about that Holiday Recycling video you’ve just posted on YouTube…. Not so cute. In fact, kind of troublesome. Let me explain.

First of all, if you’re going to end this video with the “caroler” cramming all the lady's plastic bags and wraps back into her arms, then you equally well better show him bending over and picking up his huge pile of paper trash before he leaves.

Secondly, why ten huge sheets of paper to communicate a one-sentence message? Like your caroler says—“But because it’s the holidays…And the Holidays you tell the truth.” I’ll ignore the grammatical inconsistency and questionable veracity of these statements (for there are probably more lies told during the holidays--e.g. Santa--than at any other time of the year). Point is, remember the first R in the 3-R’s of recycling is Reduce—for the best way to recycle waste is not to create it in the first place, which your video absolutely misrepresents.

How to fix this? Maybe he could hold an electronic sign board that flashes the message and doesn’t create any mess. But that still leaves you with the poor taste of the whole concept of using a religious melody as background to what is really a pretty snarky and satirical video that’s going to offend a lot of your audience, whether consciously or subconsciously.

Best would be to choose a more secular carol and rewrite the lyrics to express your message. For instance:

(open the file and click play)


We wish you a Merry Christmas, We wish you a Merry Christmas.

We wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Recycling New Year.

Good tidings to you, for all that you do.

We see you Reduce Waste, and that’s very cool.

So put out your paper / cardboard,

And put out your cans and plastic,

And put out your glass and newsprint,

And all waste like that.

Good tidings to you, for all that you do.

We see you Reuse Waste, and that’s very cool.

But save up your plastic bagging,

And bag up thin plastic wrapping

Return it to where you got it,

It’s a different waste stream.

Good tidings to you, for all that you do.

We see you Recycle, and that’s very cool.

We wish you a Merry Christmas, We wish you a Merry Christmas.

We wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Recycling New Year.

Then, instead of one guy trying to ruin this lady’s holiday by embarrassing her on her front porch for her ignorance, you could have a large group of carolers commending her for the good she is doing while informing her of the correct way to recycle thin plastic. You could end the video on a positive note with the carolers accompanying her to the local supermarket where she drops the plastic wrap into the recycling barrel. And maybe there’s a text overlay that tells the central truth: “THIN PLASTIC DAMAGES RECYCLING MACHINERY. RECYCLE PLASTIC BAGS SEPARATELY.” Your point should be to educate people, not to embarrass them and make them feel bad for their ignorance.

BOTTOM LINE: This video is irreverent, demeaning, distasteful, and counterproductive. I think you should yank it from YouTube until you can replace it with one that doesn’t belie the very things we are all trying to promote. What say you?

-- Dr. D

Dr. David J. Hibler, Sr., President BPR-CPR, Inc. (Benson Plant Rescue/Community Produce Rescue)

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