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Toxic, Inc.

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Lenny: What do they do with these [barrels of nuclear waste] after we seal them?
Carl: I hear they dump them in an abandoned chalk mine and cover them in cement.
Lenny: I hear they send them to one of those southern states where the governor's a crook.
Carl: Either way I'm sleeping good tonight!

In many Green Aesop shows, it seems like the big corporations just want to ruin the environment. This trope applies to every fictional company that causes pollution to extreme levels. Predatory Big Pharma are common culprits. It of course applies to companies owned by people fully aware of what they're doing and who keep going anyway. Sometimes, what they sell isn't even known; at other times, we know what they're producing, and it could be an aggravating factor, depending on the product.

Sometimes, the owner of the company is barely aware of all the destruction caused by the enterprise. It might come off as a surprise, or be discovered by that owner in a dramatic manner. The fact that this person was unaware of the full extent of environmental damage makes the situation even worse.

Other times, the owner is aware. The owner of such a company is usually rich, so that he can hire villains to get rid of the heroes, or pull himself out of any lawsuit thrown at him with his Amoral Attorney.

This trope can be considered a very blatant example of an Ecocidal Antagonist. Contrast Muck Monster, a creature of living pollution that may very well result from Toxic, Inc.'s activities. If the enterprise is also a factory (and it most likely is), it can also be dangerous for the workers. Such enterprises usually appear in and heavily contribute to Crapsack Worlds. These can become Anvilicious due to the strong relation to Green Aesops. Again, those enterprises don't necessarily pollute the environment and might instead damage the ecosystem of a part of the world. It doesn't have to be in a Green Aesop-centered work of fiction, either. In video games, it's a common setup for an Eternal Engine level.

Compare Evil, Inc., which may overlap with this one. Contrast Greenwashed Villainy, where a corporation still pollutes but pretends that they don't.


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    Comic Books 
  • Batman: The Joker's traditional birthplace Ace/Axis Chemicals is always depicted as a hideous (and generally unsafe) industrial husk that seems to have no output besides scads and scads of toxic runoff into local rivers. Ed Brubaker's The Man Who Laughs explicitly plays on this, suggesting the Joker's debut caper of poisoning Gotham's entire water supply is his idea of poetic justice on a city that let this go on for so long.
  • Vought American from The Boys tried to create a Mass Super-Empowering Event via environmental pollution, hoping that at least some of the victims affected would develop powers useful enough to be worth recruiting for one of the MegaCorp's superhero groups.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe:
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Roxxon Oil serves as this. They're always cutting corners, bribing inspectors, dumping toxic pollutants into major waterways, etc. It's often used as a competitor to contrast more ethically run companies like Stark Industries or the Rand Corporation. In fact, they aren't merely careless, they're specifically wrecking the environment so they can make money off of the aftereffects. They seed invasive species, have mobile factories that even Latverian politicians are appalled by, and are planning on unleashing genetically modified, always-starving bears to render wild salmon extinct so they have the monopoly on the fish.
    • A recurring trope in the Ravage 2099 title of the Marvel 2099. Alchemax has a terrible environmental record, and their hazardous waste removal division is pretty much devoted exclusively to executing anyone who calls attention to their corruption, on the pretext of them being "polluters".
  • Robotnik runs one of these in the earlier Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) stories.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The direct-to-video BBV Productions film The AirZone Solution is set in the near future when air pollution has become an acute ongoing problem. The corporation AirZone has a government contract to fix the problem, but the protagonists' investigation discovers that AirZone's actually making the pollution worse. And also kidnapping people and experimenting on them — it turns out that AirZone's preferred solution is to keep on polluting and change people so they won't mind.
  • Mr. Grosso's business in House IV involves a lot of toxic waste. So much so that the plot is driven by his flunkies trying to claim the main setting to dump it there.
  • In Juncture, one of Anna's targets is a retired pharmaceutical company executive who okayed the dumping of toxic chemicals that caused a cancer cluster in a suburban development resulting in the deaths of several children. He also indicates that this was not the worst thing he had done.
  • In The Karate Kid Part III, Big Bad Terry Silver is president of... Dyna-Tox Industries. Dyna-Tox is less egregious than most, given that the company's core business is toxic waste management and disposal, but the unspoken "we're 'disposing' of it by dumping it into clean rivers and oceans" part is implicit in their evil-sounding name.
  • Men at Work (1990) is heavily related to this trope, as the two protagonists are facing a company illegally dumping toxic matters.
  • It is revealed in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze that TGRI is the corporation that produced the mutagen that mutated the Ninja Turtles, and in the story are trying to clean up the contaminants that the company dumped onto the land, which mutated the surrounding plant life.
  • Apocalypse, Inc. are collectively the Big Bad of The Toxic Avenger Part II & III: The Last Temptation of Toxie (and implied to have been the ones the Mayor from the first film answered to). They are an evil corporation made up of Card-Carrying Villains and other thugs led by the Evil Chairman (revealed in Part III to be Satan himself) that seems to deal in toxic chemicals and chemical waste. They are so evil, that they seem to be more interested in polluting the world than profits (the latter of which they receive in spades) and target Tromaville because they were originally the Toxic Waste Capital of the World before the Toxic Avenger defied them.

  • In several issues of Butler Parker, Parker confronts waste dumpers — most of the time, companies that are supposed to dump toxic waste safely that decided they'd earn more money easier by dumping the waste into regular waste dumps. The managers of these companies often end up swimming in the waste or adrift on a float on the waste, waiting for the police to pick them up.
  • Dirk Pitt Adventures: In Sahara, Dirk Pitt discovers that a solar waste incinerating business in Mali is a sham; they're dumping the highly toxic waste into an underground river which further on empties into the Niger. The waste not only causes the sea flora to grow uncontrollably, endangering the sea ecosystem, but also causes people drinking from the contaminated water to become crazy, cannibalistic beasts. In the end, Dirk Pitt first stakes out the owner of the facility in the desert heat, ostensibly to force him to confess. However, when Massard (the culprit) doesn't, he finally releases him and gives him a drink of cold, fresh water — water that he picked up from a poisoned well a bit along the underground river. Afterwards, Pitt confesses to his associate that he did the whole staking bit only so Massard wouldn't question the water and wouldn't notice the metallic taste.
  • In The Lorax and its animated adaptations, the Once-Ler pretty much destroys the whole environment through his Thneed factories. It is of course even more precise in the animated adaptations, as much of the effects are shown on-screen. It's worth noting that, unlike many examples, the Once-Ler is an Anti-Villain who comes to genuinely regret the things he's done.

    Live-Action TV 

  • The song "Put Your Hand inside the Puppet Head" by They Might Be Giants concerns someone who lives near what's simply described as "the burn-smell factory".

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In Dilbert, there was a strip in which the Pointy-Haired Boss showed concern that kids were spending too much time outside to care about their company's product. Dilbert suggested that the company diversify their product base, but the PHB decided that he'd just pollute.

  • Bluto's four front companies in Popeye Saves the Earth have over-the-top names indicating what they do: Earth Pavers, Never Green Logging, Blutonium Waste, and Spill Co. Oil. All of them are threatening the ecosystems in which they're located, and Popeye needs to shut them all down.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Many Pentex subsidiaries in Werewolf: The Apocalypse. The small fries think they are just doing it to cut the cost. The leaders know they are doing it entirely on purpose, because the whole company is under control of an Eldritch Abomination seeking to corrode both the physical and metaphysical bonds of creation so that it'll be freed from its prison.

    Video Games 
  • Banjo-Tooie has Grunty Industries, whose chief products are apparently Deadly Gas and toxic waste.
  • The ClueFinders 6th Grade Adventures: The Empire of the Plant People lists several generic companies and cross-references them with a list of pollutants. The objective is that the player is supposed to identify which companies are putting out which toxins by knowing which industries use a particular toxin and whether the company is reported as innocent or not. Once that's finished, the Cluefinders intervene and convince them to stop.
  • Four of the later stages in Crash Bandicoot (1996) take place within Cortex Power, a nuclear power plant built by Neo Cortex and managed by Pinstripe Potoroo and his gang. The power plant in question is unsafe and dirty, and is responsible for polluting the nearby bay with radioactive waste. Cortex Power is shut down during the events of the game (Pinstripe Potoroo accidentally shoots out the main reactor when he is defeated), but this seems to cause a blackout in the later stages set inside Cortex's Castle.
  • Parodied in Day of the Tentacle: Dr. Fred has a "Sludge-O-Matic" machine that dumps toxic waste into the nearby river. This is its primary function, and the thing exists only because if he didn't have something like that, "all the other mad scientists would laugh". This silly decision is responsible for the entire plot of the game, as the toxic waste mutates Purple Tentacle into an Evil Genius with ambitions to Take Over the World.
  • Donkey Kong Country:
    • Kremkroc Industries, Inc. from Donkey Kong Country, which has ruined a portion of Donkey Kong Island, though the Kremlings (whose own island is a polluted wasteland) probably don't care about that.
    • Several areas in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! (especially the heavily industrialized Mekanos) have also been contaminated by the villainous reptiles, with the main toxins being able to cause Interface Screw.
  • Doom: Never mind the demons from Hell, the UAC cannot be doing anything good for the Martian enviroment with all the deadly radioactive waste they have lying around. As the DOOM Guy himself notes in the Doom comic:
    "Even if I personally stop this alien invasion, what kind of planet will we be leaving to our children?"
  • Astex Mining Corporation in Escape Velocity, a MegaCorp allied with the Confederation whose sole purpose in the plot is dumping toxic waste into the oceans of planet Diphidia II.
  • Half-Life: Black Mesa's extreme lack of concern for safety extends to the environment as well. They have so much glowing green toxic sludge that it can form a waterfall.
  • Kirby:
    • In Kirby: Planet Robobot, the Haltmann Works Company invades Pop Star and quickly send their machines around the planet to gather resources. One of the many stage hazards they cause is Deadly Gas which is blown around by fans. This game also introduces the mid-boss Miasmoros and the Venog enemy, which are toxic Blob Monsters that give the Poison Copy Ability.
    • Team Kirby Clash Deluxe has the Mad Scientist Flask as purchasable equipment for the Doctor Healmore role, filled with some purple liquid and labelled with an ominous black skull. The Flavor Text states that it's rumored to have been created by a "notorious technology company," likely referring to the Haltmann Works Company.
  • The planet Grannest from Meteos is an industrial world whose pollution, while likely unintentional, is so bad it's even forcing its robotic inhabitants into space.
  • Oiligarchy has you under the control of a massive oil company. Your business causes the likes of animal life dying off.
  • In Ratchet & Clank (2002), it's eventually revealed that Chairman Drek deliberately polluted the Blarg homeworld to the point of rendering it almost uninhabitable, so that the Blarg would be forced to buy a brand-new, custom-made planet from him at a premium rate.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender had an episode about a Fire Nation factory polluting a river threatening a small fishing village. Naturally, the heroes intervened. Untypically for the genre, this was not a private company proper, however, but a state-owned industrial facility.
  • In Ben's City, Minister of Environment Henry Wallet and his counselor Ben face twice the owner of an enterprise named Toxicompany, which heavily pollutes the air. Only in its second appearance do we learn they are manufacturing paint thinner. Aggravating factor for sure.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers is pretty much built around this trope. The show is already a heavy Green Aesop series, and most villains are over-the-top greedy polluters of one kind or another. Between all of these various villains, there's got to be quite a few companies bent on polluting. Probably an Enforced Trope, as a more realistic characterization might cause young viewers to think poorly of real adults working in similar industries.
  • The Cramp Twins has Hazchem, Soap City's premier manufacture of heavy-duty cleaning products and despoiler of the local swampland.
  • Family Guy:
    • In "It Takes a Village Idiot, And I Married One", Lois discovers that Lake Quahog is severely polluted and that a local oil refinery is responsible, and since Mayor Adam West authorized their dumping toxins into the lake, she runs for mayor against him. When she wins, she has the lake cleaned up and prohibits further dumping, but embezzles the leftover cleanup funds, and is soon bribed by the company executive into allowing them to dump toxins in the lake again. There's even a ribbon-cutting ceremony re-opening the pipe dumping the toxins.
    • Santa's workshop in "Road to the North Pole". Its chimneys are spreading pollution in the air, and large pipes spill even more pollution in the North Pole. Oh, and considering this part of the world is already directly affected by all the pollution, it only makes things worse...
  • Not necessarily a company, but in Futurama, one of Professor Farnsworth's inventions serves a nearly useless purpose (producing novelty glow-in-the-dark noses) yet creates tons and tons of toxic waste.
  • In The Oblongs, the largest company in Hill Valley is the poison company Globocide. Aside from their products, the company is likely the biggest source of the Hill's pollutants causing the squalid conditions and deformities of the people living down in the valley.
    Bob: We've turned out enough poison to kill every living thing on the planet.
    Mr Klimer: Sweet. Let's see those pantywaists down in anthrax pull that off.
  • Cyril Sneer's company in The Raccoons disregards entirely for the environment and is up to the Raccoons and friends to foil most of his Get Richer Schemes that would damage the environment.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: Destroido is responsible for a lot of pollution; among other things its runoff has turns avocados into monsters and mutated multiple animals into hybrids. Even their legitimate products aren't safe, as one hoax of the week involves a guy as a monster bear who pretty much only needed a bear mask because Destroido shampoo made thick hair sprout all over his body.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Burns' power plant is responsible for a lot of environmental disasters surrounding Springfield, and all the jokes the staff can think up to go with the mutations caused to the fish. Remember Blinky?
    • In "The Old Man and the Lisa", Mr. Burns discovers the joys of recycling thanks to Lisa, and to thank her, he builds a factory that bears her name. However, Little Lisa's Patented Animal Slurry uses millions of six-pack plastic holders stuck together to clean up the seafloor, grabbing plants and animals, and turning them to a multi-purpose compound. He destroyed the ecosystem of the seas surrounding Springfield. Definitely an aggravating factor.
    • In the Death Tome segment of the 2022 Treehouse of Horror, Burns operates a company called "Globo-Warm" whose sole purpose is to melt the ice caps and raise the sea levels enough so that Burns can dock his yacht directly outside of his currently landlocked house.
  • In the Superfriends episode "Dr. Pelagian's War", the titular Eco-Terrorist uses his control of the weather and the oceans to try to convince the owners of three companies to stop polluting the environment.
  • Toxic Crusaders: Like its source material, Apocalypse Inc. is a blatantly evil corporation whose only concern is polluting Tromaville, though rather than being helmed by Satan himself, the CEO is a cockroach alien polluting the world to make it more habitable for his species.


Video Example(s):


Apocalypse Inc.

An evil conglomerate that seems to exist for the sole purpose of destroying the world with pollution.

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