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Omnivore Food Blog By Suzanne Podhaizer

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November 15, 2007

Eco-Friendly Frito-Lay?

I have a tendency to be pretty down on multi-national corporations — note my feelings about Williston in my previous post — but sometimes the sheer size and financial flexibility a huge company wields allows for some cool innovation.

Although the only thing I've read on this topic is this New York Times article, Frito-Lay's (owned by PepsiCo) "net zero" concept for churning out potato and corn chips without impacting the environment seems pretty appealing. Simply put, their goal is to take their plant in Casa Grande, Arizona off the grid, and run the thing on "renewable fuels and recycled water."

According to The Times: "The retrofit of the Casa Grande factory, scheduled to be completed by 2010, would reduce electricity and water consumption by 90 percent and its natural gas use by 80 percent. Greenhouse gas emissions would be cut by 50 percent to 75 percent, the company said." 

Of course they do have 36 other factories...The ultimate plan is to do some of the same upgrades at the others, too. The article also says that Pepsico "has become the nation’s biggest buyer of renewable energy credits..."

I've been unmoved by the addition of "healthy" options to fast food menus and have mixed feelings about the corporate usurpation of the term "organic" — yay fewer pesticides sprayed world-wide: boo animal welfare issues, clear-cutting of the rainforest to grow organic crops and attempts to weaken organic standards  — but this seems like a whole new level of corporate eco-friendliness. Or maybe I'm just less cynical than I should be.

This doesn't mean I'll start drinking soda or bringing home value-sized bags of Doritos, but maybe I'll feel less guilty when I chow a few Cheetos at a party.

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