This online scavenger hunt looks like it's for kids. There's the Glass Packaging Institute cartoon guy, smiling and urging us to recycle glass. This all sounds fine, except when you take a look around the launching page, which includes a feature on Crystal Head Vodka. The Institute is holding an online scavenger hunt, to educate people about the environmental benefits of glass container recycling. (Not so big) prizes include $50, an iPod shuffle, T-shirt and reusable glass bottle (just don't drop it).Maybe I'm being too hard on this. Maybe it's just bad product placement, like some of those Google Ads that pop up on TreeHugger from time to time. Here's the deal: You sign up, and do a little surfing and learning. It takes about 10 minutes. To get the clues, you give them your e-mail address, first name and state.
The first clue takes you to Saint-Gobain Containers with more cartoon characters, Captain Cullet and the little Gob 'O Glass. You watch a video and answer a simple question. It goes on from there.
Fifty people will win the T-shirts and bottles at random. During Recycle Glass Week in September, the top three responses to "Why I recycle Glass" will get iPod shuffles. The top three photo submissions will get $50.
Just what is the Glass Packaging Institute? "The Glass Packaging Institute (GPI) serves as the voice for the glass container industry in Washington, D.C., and across the country. GPI serves its member companies through legislative, public relations, promotional and technical activities," according to the website.
That includes companies that produce glass containers for food, beer, soft drinks, wine, liquor, cosmetics, toiletries and medicine in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
The Institute's political work includes opposing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on greenhouse gas regulation.
Or, as National Association of Manufacturers President John Engler put it: "To stop EPA from its overreach in regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. We believe this issue deserves transparency and debate that should be handled by Congress, not by a bureaucratic agency that has no accountability to the American people."
Despite what you may think about the messenger, the message seems clear: It's important to recycle glass. It's better than throwing it away. And better than stepping on a broken bottle at the beach, or wherever you bring your skull-shaped vodka.