How Coke reversed a bottle ban in the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is very beautiful, except when it's covered with disposable Dasani bottles left by littering tourists, which is a major problem for the park. So the National Park Service decided to ban disposable bottles.
But then a bigwig at Coca Cola, which has donated $13 million to the park service over the years, called the head of the National Park Service and expressed his concern about the bottle ban, reports the New York Times.
Mr. Martin, a 35-year veteran of the park service who had risen to the No. 2 post in 2003, was disheartened by the outcome. “That was upsetting news because of what I felt were ethical issues surrounding the idea of being influenced unduly by business,” Mr. Martin said in an interview. “It was even more of a concern because we had worked with all the people who would be truly affected in their sales and bottom line, and they accepted it.”
Coca Cola characterizes the issue as one of personal choice. The park service points out that discarded bottles are the single largest source of litter in the Canyon. One sore point may have been that the park was installing water refilling stations in place of bottled water concessions, which as we all know is tantamount to Stalinism.
FYI, in case you were wondering, the reason bottled drinks profoundly and indisputably suck is that if you took all the energy required to produce and transport a single bottle of water and turned it into oil, it would fill that bottle of water one quarter full. As opposed to tap water, which costs 1/1000th as much as bottled and is as good or better quality.
Parks Chief Blocked Plan for Grand Canyon Bottle Ban, New York Times.