On World Environment Day, Mr. Canary emphasizes the importance of sustainably-sourced and recyclable products

Mr. Canary’s Bird & Breakfast is “green”, but what does that really mean or why should you care?

Mr. Canary Recycles

Today, Wednesday, June 5th is World Environment Day. Created in 1974, it’s the United Nations day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. This year the theme is around air pollution.

“We’ve got to pause and ask ourselves, how much clean air do we need?”

– Lee Iacocca, former Ford Motor Company, VP; Chrysler Corp, CEO

Lee Iacocca was a VP of Ford Motor Company, the third largest corporation in America, at the time he said the quote above. He posed this question to Congress when they were considering the Clean Air Act. As absurdly outrageous as his question sounds, Iacocca was concerned that the Clean Air Act, which was passed in 1970, would cripple manufacturing. He wasn’t alone; a lot of people agreed with him and many still do.

What struck me when I read that quote was how, back then, it seemed that pollution was a “situation” that only giant corporations had to consider. Nobody was talking about how environmental changes would affect farmers or the local dry cleaner. No, it seemed that sustainability (which wasn’t even an environmental term then) would be achieved if we just made rules for the big companies. Now we know better, ask any grade school kid. A healthy environment requires thoughtful action from all of us. But the problem is, the thoughtful thing to do is not always clear to consumers.

For example, our company, Mr. Canary, makes some plastic bird feeders. That might seem anti-environment until you consider that plastic is easier to keep clean, which is key to bird health and birds are key to wildlife which is a pretty key part of our ecology. There are a bunch of different kinds of plastics that could be used so what is the most environmentally friendly one? At this point, it’s the one that is most widely recyclable which is what we choose. A more biodegradable option would be great, but if that kind of recycling is not very available throughout the country, then it’s obviously not the best option.

A Sustainably-Sourced and Recyclable Bird Feeder

We just launched a new bird feeder that uses TV-dinner style trays made of paper pulp that makes it easier for the user AND provides a cleaner, healthier feeding surface for birds. We chose the tray that was as ’green’ as we could find in terms of recycling AND manufacturing. The company that makes our trays utilizes green manufacturing techniques. To be certified as that kind of corporation, you have to do things that include using every part of the tree, planting 3-4 trees for every tree taken down, and take steps to offset disruption to wildlife species in areas where trees are harvested. And that’s just the beginning of what is required.

Here’s the thing: today’s lifestyle is a genie out of the bottle. People are used to the conveniences we’re offered, heck, there’s already a significant part of our population that are convenience-natives, they don’t know any other way. So, trying to jam genie back in the bottle seems futile. Better to go forward looking at old problems with new eyes and a willingness to make the best choices we can. It’s worked for us in the past.

P.S. Another reason to be optimistic, although Ford Motor Company isn’t the third largest corporation in America as it was in 1965, in 2018 it was still in the top ten (#7). And the top three corporations in 2018 weren’t even publicly traded companies back in 1965 (#1 Walmart, #2 Berkshire Hathaway, #3 Apple). We can and do adapt, if we want to and when we have to.

Learn more about Mr. Canary’s new sustainably-sourced, recyclable bird feeder, Mimi’s Bird & Breakfast.

Author: Jan Long

Published: June 5, 2019