Plastic had been demonized by several environmentalist organizations including the grassroots groups Greenpeace and CCHW. The use-and-dispose philosophy at the core of McDonald's business and its distinctive plastic clamshell sandwich boxes, which helped to make the company one of the largest single users of polystyrene in the United States, had made McDonald's a continuing target of ecology groups (Livesey, 1993a, p.
EDF thus differentiated its role within the competitive environmental movement, a move for which it was criticized by CCHW and other more radical groups who said that EDF had become too close to corporate interests and too willing to compromise (Reinhardt, 1992, p.
CCHW, one of the groups opposing McDonald's, had launched a "Ronald McToxic" campaign, effectively appropriating (or, in McDonald's terms, misappropriating) the company mascot, the clown Ronald McDonald, to make him an emblem of betrayal and doom.
CCHW and a large number of environmental groups that had crusaded against plastic were on EDF's side.
Lois Gibbs: I formed CCHW because I discovered during the struggle at Love Canal that there was no organization that was established for the purpose of helping local, average, grassroots people, moms and dads, with the issues of environmental threats.
MM: What do you mean when you call CCHW an environmental justice center?
The grassroots groups and CCHW in particular were especially angry with EDF because we wrote letters to all of the mainstream groups, saying that McDonald's is likely to come and try to negotiate with you.