7 Earth Day Pitches That Made Us Cringe

7 Earth Day Pitches That Made Us Cringe

Don't get us wrong. We love that companies are embracing an environmental ethic. We're thrilled that they're glomming on to the third week in April as a chance to preen their green feathers. Hey, we're GreenBiz. This is our world.

But like everyone else, we have our limits, especially when it comes to the gusher of Earth Day pitches and come-ons that find their way to us -- these days, starting in late March, culminating right about now.

To be blunt, there are some PR pitches that make our heads explode. Earth Day As Excuse to Announce Anything Green, for starters. Look How Green We Are, Even Though We're Not Being Very Specific, for another.

And please, please: Don't get us started on the opener, "Just in time for Earth Day ..."

With each noteworthy Earth Day announcement, we receive another dozen that are anything from boring to bad. Some make us laugh. Others just make us cringe.

For the third year in a row, we present some choice examples of Earth Day pitches that crossed our desks this year but fell woefully short.

Ground Control to Major Tom(cat)

The good folks at Litter-Robot (pictured above), purveyors of a capsule-like electronic robot litter box that retails for a mere $349, want all felines to have a greener Earth Day, and why shouldn't they? So, they've offered us human consumers a helpful list of eco-suggestions, such as making a pet bed out of old clothes or making wind chimes from cat food cans. Of course, after shelling out $349 for a robo-litterbox made from recycled materials, one might not be able to afford canned cat food, but that's another story.

Sadly, the Litter-Robot™ Earth Day campaign appears to violate Asimov's First Law of Robotics, that a robot must not cause harm to humans (in this case, their wallets).

Bottled Water Industry Self-Flagellation

As a resource-intensive and often unnecessary alternative to municipal water, you would think the bottled-water industry would want to lay low on Earth Day. Far from it. They've decided to go with the flow.

The International Bottled Water Association is touting the growth of PET plastic recycling, with a study showing recycling rates skyrocketing from 30.9 percent in 2010 to 31 percent in 2011. Crunching the numbers, we've calculated that amounts to 0.1 percent growth -- a drop in the bucket, as it were, considering that 69 percent of empty bottles still are finding their way into landfills.

Neat Trick

In a move that is both misleading and self-promotional, The Neat Company, which makes scanners and accompanying software, announced that it would make an unspecified donation to the Arbor Day Foundation for every "free Taming the Paper Monster e-book that is downloaded" from its website. The "e-book" is even billed as a guide for how to start living a "paper-LESS lifestyle."

Sounds good, but only if you know what Neat means by "e-book" and "paper-LESS." The 13-page PDF is more like a pamphlet, and it's not about how to use less paper, but how to keep less paper around you -- conveniently, using Neat's products.

Greening Your Privates

Carbon Solutions America wanted us to know that it is working with Blue Star Jets, a private jet charter brokerage company ("Any Jet. Any Time. Any Place.") to develop a carbon offset program. Yes, you read it right. Specifically, Blue Star wants to reduce its carbon footprint by 50,000 tons a year by investing in offsets.

None of this is a bad idea, though it would have been better if they had collected a few more facts. Details about how the offset program for Blue Star will work, how much the company intends to invest and the size of its carbon footprint (to put that 50,000-ton figure into perspective) would have been nice. Oh, and what's the annual carbon footprint of a typical jet? (We've read that flying private is four times more carbon intensive than flying commercial.)

To be fair, the announcement that was emailed over a CSA exec's electronic signature doesn't mention Earth Day -- in which case, this may be more of an instance of poor timing.

And we could take a harder swipe at the private jet industry, but that's an easy target and we do recognize that there are instances when security needs or extreme urgency may necessitate private air transportation. We will instead point out an example of eco-responsible air travel. Our managing editor recently took a Southwest flight, and much to his delight and that of other travelers, Robert Redford was among the passengers. Yes, that Robert Redford. On Southwest. Riding just like regular folks. 'Nuff said.

Go Green by Losing Your Green?

Oh, Caesars. You certainly can't be blamed for trying, but tying Earth Day to gambling pretty much misses the point entirely.

As part of a its "Go Green" initiative, Caesars Entertainment Atlantic City will incorporate more local, organic food into its menus and raise money for local environmental groups. That's all fine and good. But the company also offers a "Win. Play. Grow. Sweepstakes" and a "Go Green Play & Earn Promotion," where new customers can sign up for a free Total Rewards card and earn points while gambling.

"Play with your card on the day you sign up and earn slot play!"

We suspect that the green you'll need to save will be your own.

Make Love, Not Carbon

We knew we were in for a good time when we saw the headline, "This Earth Day Make Love, Not Carbon."

Standard Innovation Corp., the unbelievably bland name for a company behind the decidedly less bland We-Vibe, which it claims is the "fastest-selling sexual health product of its type in history," did not disappoint.

The company plans to give $5 to carbon offset provider Carbonfund.org for each new person who either follows its Twitter feed or "likes" its Facebook page. Standard Innovation Corp. also offers five tips on being "eco-sexier," including buying eco-friendly massage oil and trying out eco-dating websites. We had no clue that putting an air purifier in the bedroom could spice up our love life.

We're not making this up. Wish we were. See for yourself.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Restrain

The We-Vibe wasn't the only pitch we saw that was more blue than green. There was also KinkJunkie, purveyors of luxury eco-erotica (a welcome indulgence for those of us tired of polluting erotica). Its come-on: "Lush," a visual smorgasbord of eco-friendly lingerie and accessories made from organic, sustainable, vegan and recycled materials.

You know what they say: What goes around -- oh, never mind.

Seen any Earth Day promotions that made you roll your eyes? We've love to hear about them in the comments below.