2014's fast food atrocities
Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.
Like many people in my generation, I am both a technophile and an environmentalist. Can I have the latest gadgets and be green?
I think you may have discovered the quandary of Generation Y (or is it “Why?”). How do we reconcile our visions for a more sustainable world with that uncontrollable urge to bring everything shiny and electronic back to our nests? The most sustainable answer, of course, is to address the root of this perceived need. Do I really need it? Can I borrow one? Can I rent one? Can I fix my old one? Can I play with it for hours at the Apple store until the novelty wears off?
Assuming that the answer to all of these questions is no, and that you have justified the acquisition of this gadget in your highly rational cranium (“But look, Mom, it will save me gas”), where does that leave us? I could just end my answer there, but I think that there is still a chance that you will make a more environmentally friendly decision.
To help answer your question, I will turn to the recently released ninth edition of “Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics.” The guide aims to help you reduce toxic substances and encourage end-of-life product take-back and recycling, essentially mirroring the efforts of the European Union’s RoHS (reduction of hazardous substances) and WEEE (waste electronic and electrical equipment) directives. Since the initial guide came out in 2006, the requirements on the reduction of toxic substances have been increased and criteria have been added to improve corporate policies and practices with respect to climate and energy.
Over the years, the field of companies included in this guide has slowly moved in a positive direction, while some companies advanced more than others, or even worsened their environmental performance. Most notably, longtime environmental laggard Apple has moved up from an overall ranking of 2.7 (out of 10) to a 4.1 in the current report. With a new line of iPods, which have eliminated many of the toxic substances previously found in its products, Apple seems to be on the green path, or at least heading in the right direction.
When you go out to buy your new gadget, review the rankings of companies in the Greenpeace guide and remember a few things:
Familiarizing yourself with the environmental performance of companies and their products, as well as remembering these few tips, will enable you to make an informed decision that will help protect the environment and still allow you to feed your gadget need.
Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.
KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.
Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.
Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.
Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.