Why Is Bill Nye The Science Guy Greenwashing for Coca-Cola?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and scrolling through MediaPost’s Marketing Daily, when I came across this report by Todd Wasserman.

Bill Nye Stars In Questionable Coke Ad

With Earth Day about two weeks away, Coca-Cola has released this video starring Bill Nye, who says that “together we can close the loop” on waste.

The video, by Mackinnon & Saunders, discusses “Creating a world without waste,” and an animatronic version of Nye talks about how we can reuse plastic. “It’s an amazing material,” he says.

In the three-minute video, Nye also says this: “The good people at the Coca-Cola company are dedicating themselves to addressing our global plastic waste problem. They know they have a responsibility to help solve this issue and their goal: A world without waste.”

Is this the real thing, Doc?

– Bull Nigh

Dear Bull,

Good question. Let’s look at the video, shall we?

Cute, engaging – and pretty much total propaganda, as Molly Taft details in this piece at Gizmodo.

Bill Nye, the Sellout Guy

In a new video, TV’s favorite scientist parrots hackneyed lines about “the good people at Coca-Cola” and their near-useless recycling efforts.

Bad news for everyone who loved watching Bill Nye the Science Guy during middle school science class: your fave is problematic. This week, Coca-Cola, one of the world’s biggest plastic polluters, teamed up with TV’s favorite scientist for a campaign to create a “world without waste,” a joke of a corporate greenwashing campaign.

In a video innocuously titled “The Coca-Cola Company and Bill Nye Demystify Recycling,” an animated version of Nye—with a head made out of a plastic bottle and his signature bow tie fashioned from a Coke label—walks viewers through the ways “the good people at the Coca-Cola company are dedicating themselves to addressing our global plastic waste problem.”

Problem is, as Taft notes, “[Coca-Cola] produces about 3.3 million U.S. tons of plastic packaging per year, and has been named one of the most polluting brands in the world by multiple different audits.”

Even worse:

Coca-Cola has also said it has no plans to stop producing single-use plastic, because, it claims, customers simply don’t want anything else. If Coke had a history of fighting for beneficial recycling policies, one ad might not be a problem, but representatives from the company were caught on tape as recently as 2019 lobbying against bottle bills that would reward customers for recycling but tack an extra charge onto the company.

To recap: Molly Taft’s Gizmodo piece on Coca-Cola’s recycling record is the pause that depresses.

The Doc’s antidote: Try one of these Ethical Soft Drinks listed by Moral Fibres.

(Once again: Dr. Ads is not a licensed physician. But bottoms up!)

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