Saturday, March 29, 2008

Family time

I’m so happy I’m not the only one who finds the current Dixie paper plate ad completely disgusting.

The ad features a mom who finds that the tiresome chore of doing dishes prevents her from spending quality time with her family. The solution? Paper plates of course!

But why stop at plates? The people at Dixie also have disposable cups, bowls and cutlery. Voila—instant family closeness!

Has Dixie even heard about the increasingly en vogue Green movement? It’s like totally hip now to care about the environment. Even WalMart has jumped on the bandwagon. WalMart! Monolith of mass production.

In Dixie’s defense, it must be hard to be Green when they peddle a product line whose success is completely dependent on people's love for disposable ware.

And they are doing a service, I guess, saving our children from all those bad, scary germs. Like their website says, “When kids use Dixie disposable cups armored with the favorite design, they're having fun reducing the spread of those pesky germs - and they don't even know it!”

Armored. That’s some damn good marketing.

I’d love to do a little experiment. What if the nice people at Dixie supplied a family of four with enough disposable products for 10 years? The family would get all the plates, cups, bowls, cutlery, bathroom cups, PerfecTouch® Grab'N GO™ cups and Insulair® coffee cups they needed. And throw in some extra bowls for the cat and dog.

The family would, according to Dixie’s marketing campaign, have oodles of family time and be joyously germ free—a virtual Sri Lanka. But there’s a catch. The family would have to keep all their garbage in their backyard. Every single bag. For 10 whole years.

What might that look like?

According to, on average, each one of us produces 4.4 pounds of solid waste each day (let’s assume, in this case, that a good portion of that is comprised of Dixie products).

One person in this Dixie household would produce 1,606 pounds of waste per year. Multiply that by 4 family members then 10 years and you’ve got 64,240 pounds of waste. All sitting in the backyard.

What a lovely family photo that would be: Katie Lynn and PJ climbing over all those trash bags trying to find the dog, who went out one day and never came back.

Can you blame him?

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