Here at Inhabitat we love hearing about multi-national corporations undertaking incredible measures to become more Earth friendly, so with the recent announcement that all of Sunny Delight’s US and Spanish companies have gone certifiable zero waste to landfill, we’re inclined to give them a standing ovation for their eco-efforts. But unfortunately, there’s another equally dire aspect that requires us to sit back down – because while green in production, the beverage itself remains a sugary mess. Shaped in the minds of many as a timeless favorite, Sunny Delight is in reality one of many sugar-laden drinks causing obesity problems across the world. So while the company’s recycling initiatives are laudable, we still feel making a drink that keeps the world’s population healthy is even better.
In the company’s 2009 report released this month, Sunny D announced their great green news. Sunny D, which initially set a goal of making all of their US and Spanish plants zero waste by 2013, last year found themselves four years ahead of schedule. Their Anaheim, Mataro, Atlanta, Sherman, South Brunswick and Littleton plants have gone completely zero waste with no residuals being sent to the landfill, and each location avidly practices the best of recycling habits. With just one year under its belt, the new system managed to generate an overall savings of $169,000 in direct costs last year alone.
A considerable financial and environmental feat, to compliment their eco-practices, Sunny D has been striving to lower its drink’s sugar content. Unfortunately, all of their efforts have so far come up short. High Fructose Corn Syrup remains second most used ingredient as listed on the Sunny Delight Original label, and the glowing brew contains just 5% of concentrated juice — the recipe is basically sugar water with a little fruit for flavor. While attempted to up their image of wellbeing with a recently released line of juices that claim to be healthier, their key sweetener remains just as toxic.
So as a company laden with conflicting practices with little remedy, it’s hard to see this environmental venture as more than an act of self-interest. A truly disheartening reality, we just wish that Sunny D would ramp up their efforts and really start making a product that wasn’t so focused on cost optimization at the expense of the population’s health.