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The Dark Side of The Great American Chocolate Bar

By Roxanne Griffin

What do you think of when you think of The Hershey Company? Is it Kisses, S’mores by the campfire, family fun at the Hershey’s Amusement Park, Halloween parties with friends and kiddos? All wholesome activities the Hershey’s company has spent millions of dollars in promoting their message of bringing people together. Sadly, there is a darker side to their chocolate sweets and snack treats they would rather you not know. Not so sadly, that darker side is bringing people together in shedding light on and letting Hersheys know we’re not blinded by their attempts in ‘greenwashing’ the public.

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Wouldn’t it be great if Hersheys was as transparent about their profits as they are about their efforts in stewardship of our planet? Or for that matter, put as much effort into sustainable packaging of their products as they do in the marketing of their products!

Hershey’s 2020 Sustainability report indicated that 77% of their packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable. Yet the packaging used for most of their candy bars and treats falls short in meeting a sustainable criterion. Rather The Hersheys Company has the dubious honor of receiving a failing grade of ‘F’ from a study published in 2020 by the non-profit ‘As You Sow.’ The study took into account factors like packaging design and reusability, packaging content and data transparency, producer responsibility and support for recycling. You can learn about additional reports on Hersheys by clicking here. (Letter to Hershey March 2022.docx (

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‘As You Sow’ is the nation’s non-profit leader in shareholders advocacy.

If perhaps you’re thinking what’s the big deal here, note that single-use food wrappers from candy, chips, etc… now rank number one when it comes to littering our beaches and oceans; displacing cigarette butts which held that title in all previous years from beach litter collections. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.

We shouldn’t have to choose between plastic or planet. There are biodegradable alternatives to single-use plastic that many companies are already using. Wouldn’t it be great for Hersheys to invest in ongoing research in alternatives to single-use plastic!

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Colorado State University – the intentional design of newly chemically recyclable plastics

In use plastic alternatives:


Hopefully, if not before, you are now convinced that there’s a problem and are wondering what if anything can be done about it. I have an answer for you! You can take action by participating in ‘Mob Hersheys for Earth Day’ from April 16th – 30th by sending back their packaging along with a letter provided on the website at FoCo Trash Mob. (Trash Mob-FoCo breakfreefromplastic) It’s a super easy thing to do with a 100% ‘feel-good’ factor guarantee. Being a part of the solution to plastic pollution is as sweet as any chocolate indulgence imaginable.

Until next month, do the good work to feel well,



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