When you think “eco-conscious,” you probably don’t think of the Kardashians — no one loves an elaborate balloon display, a private jet, or a giant plastic salad bowl like Kim, Kourtney, and the rest of the family. But budding environmentalist Khloé Kardashian has some strong thoughts about people who buy single-use water bottles — and her attempt to call out those who drink from plastic water bottles just backfired (spectacularly).
In an Instagram Story posted on Monday, Kardashian showed off her reusable water bottle before proceeding to criticize people who use the same type of vessel, but pour bottled water into it. “That defeats the purpose because those water bottles are just gonna go in a landfill somewhere and potentially cause pollution, and we’re trying to limit our single usage of plastics,” she said.
Many people pointed out the hypocrisy of Kardashian lecturing others about the environment, given the droves of instances in which she and her family have been seen with things like single-use plastic salad containers. The backlash eventually caused her to clear some things up in a series of tweets. “I am the last one to say that I’m super environmentally conscious because I know how much more I have to learn. All I was simply saying is a pet peeve of MINE. I find it silly that people are pouring 4 to 5 single use plastic bottles into a reusable container. It’s sort of defeats the purpose,” she wrote later on Monday. “I was trying to provide a suggestion such as a water filtration system that you can buy easily for the price of a case of water bottles. Sometimes plastic water bottles are the only option for some people and I totally get that.”
She closed her thread with a request for more “easy tips” on helping the environment. And, um, people had some ideas. Let’s look at Kardashian’s preferred mode of travel (that is, a private plane). Individuals who fly on private jets account for 10 times as many greenhouse gas emissions as commercial flight passengers, and 150 times as many emissions as train passengers, reported the U.K. think tank Common Wealth. “Is Khloe going to stop traveling by private jets since she wants to act so concerned about the environment??” wrote one Twitter user.
And then, there are all the balloons. In April, Kardashian threw an extravagant, princess-themed birthday party for her 3-year-old daughter True that seemed to feature lots of single-use paper and plastic, along with hundreds (if not thousands) of balloons. According to the Environmental Nature Center, even biodegradable balloons can take up to four years to decompose. They pose a danger to wildlife and sea creatures, who frequently ingest parts of these balloons.
Kardashian’s sister Kim also bravely decided to cut out plastic water bottles recently. In a refrigerator tour she shared on Instagram in 2020, Kim revealed that she now strictly drinks bottled brands like Voss and Flow water, which come in glass bottles and paper cartons, respectively. These brands might be “better” than plastic options, but they do still have an environmental impact. “Positioning cartons as a great alternative to bottles is a false choice,” wrote Grist columnist Umbra Fisk. “Single-use water containers are hugely wasteful of raw materials and energy, no matter what they’re made of.” Most importantly, many of Kim’s followers won’t be able to splurge on this kind of switch. A pack of 24 Voss bottles costs $30, whereas a 24-pack of Poland Spring bottles costs around $5.99.
While Kardashian isn’t wrong that plastic water bottles often end up in landfills, her out-of-touch statement is a little too reminiscent of the aggravating idea that, on an individual level, we’re all equally responsible for the dire state of our environment. Yes, we can make a serious impact by switching to reusable water bottles, but according to a 2017 report, just 100 companies have been responsible for over 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988.
Is there something inherently wrong with the Kardashians promoting eco-friendly habits? No. But it really rings hollow when the family has a combined net worth of $2 billion and regularly throws parties that cost millions of dollars. If Kardashian really cares about the environment, there’s probably some work she can do beyond lecturing her followers not to buy plastic water bottles. For one thing, she can cut out the balloon displays.
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