It is that time of year when the fundraisers roll out for the schools since Christmas is right around the corner. How many of your schools offer the old wrapping paper fundraiser?
Yawn. I know another wrapping paper fundraiser.
This year I received my timely Innisbrook holiday fundraiser with a new twist. A Recycle, Reuse, and Conserve money collection Envelope (see picture above) with a nifty caption of
“Did you know this envelope is made from recycled Paper? There are a lot of ways you can help keep our world green?”
I read the envelope and started to shake my head, with disbelief. How could a product fundraiser company give me advice to go green when they were asking me to buy more paper products? With catchy phrases of “Don’t just Recycle-Reuse!” and “Unscramble these words to see what trees do for us,” I became incensed.
That’s it, my militant green-self exclaimed. I am going to write about this blatant green washing with the “be green” envelope and the not so green products. I figured the catalog would be full of beautiful wrapping paper, that is made from wood pulp, that ultimately finds its way to the trash in the same amount of time or less than it took to wrap the gift. Hopefully, it is being recycled (without the tape…)
Wrapping paper just seems kind of wasteful to me. (Been there done that with the wrapping paper. See my article on wrapping Holiday Gifts.)
Look at the Catalog Before Screaming Greenwashing
The next day, my inner logical voice said, “you know, you ought to look at the catalog before you fire away one of your posts on the blog.” Well, I am glad that I listened, since otherwise, I would not have seen the many options for recycle content wrapping paper.
So, I went to check out their website as well. Their green efforts include that their standard paper is printed on premium recycled paper and their inks are 100% water based. And their catalog is printed on recycled paper as well. Hmmm …This is a good start.
However, none of the food items in the catalog were remotely green. From Krispy Kreme rich coffee to Helen Grace chocolates, nothing smelled of fair trade, organic, but simply brown.
But to placate us green types, page 4 listed the “Sensible Solutions,” which includes a lunch tote, recycle tips, a porcelain cup and saucer, and of course, the “I am going green shopping tote.” Everyone seems to have their own brand of “I am not a plastic bag” tote.
Taking the Green High Road
As I was getting worked up, I stopped and told my inner Green Crusader to park the Prius and take a breather. Should I look at this fundraiser as a step in the right direction and encourage this company to add in fair trade coffee and chocolate items to their catalog rather than total dismiss it and call it green placating? (There is a new term for you. You heard it first on Green Talk.)
Should I commend them for adding recycled wrapping paper to their list of products, and make a suggestion about including fabric bags as well?
It is kind of like the Clorox scenario where they make bleach as well as Green Works, the Company’s eco-friendly cleaning products. Do you decide not to buy Green Works because it is made by Clorox or are you glad they are producing products that are making green more mainstream?
I decided to take the high road and called the Company to discuss my suggestions.
Wrapping Paper is a very easy fundraiser since many people are not going to take the time to use their funny pages, magazines, or their kids’ artwork to be used as gift wrap. In the end, the school receives up to fifty percent of the monies raised.
Please don’t get me wrong about supporting local school organizations. I just have a problem buying things I don’t need. In the past, I just gave a cash donation to the PTA instead. In this case, all of the money I gave went directly to the school.
I have encouraged my PTA to put a line item at the bottom of each fundraiser, saying all cash donations are welcome, but that has not happened yet.
In a prior post, I outlined some wonderful Eco-Fundraisers and my readers provided me with other choices as well. I encourage everyone to read this article, and add to it as well.
Join the Conversation
- What type of fundraiser has been most successful at your school or organization? It does not have to be green, but a green option would be great. Ideas are welcomed too.
- Has your organization had gift wrapping fundraisers and are they successful? Do you like this idea?
- Would you buy the eco-products from a fundraising catalog, and ignore the fact that most of the products are not eco-friendly?
- Would you buy an eco-product from a Company even though they are still producing products that have questionable environmental practices? (ie Clorox.)
Let me know your thoughts.