December 11, 2012
by Peggy
Comments Off on Book Recommendation: “Plastic Free, How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too”

Book Recommendation: “Plastic Free, How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too”

I’ve just finished reading Beth Terry’s new book, an inspiring guide to rethinking our plastic-laden lives. Plastic is an amazing invention—-so light! so resilient! so malleable! But the fact is, we’ve gone way overboard with this material. I won’t argue … Continue reading

December 8, 2012
by Peggy
Comments Off on Water, Water, Every Where

Water, Water, Every Where

Why do we buy water?  Most of the time it’s just because we desperately need a drink, right now. It used to be we could quickly quench our thirst at a public fountain. (According to Wikianswers, the first drinking fountain … Continue reading

December 4, 2012
by Peggy
Comments Off on Refillable Bottles: An Idea Whose Time has Come, Again!

Refillable Bottles: An Idea Whose Time has Come, Again!

  One of the most disconcerting developments in the news lately has been Coca-Cola’s determined transition away from its iconic refillable glass bottle and to its new-fashioned plastic “PlantBottle.”  On September 27th, Coke announced a major investment in the manufacture … Continue reading

October 12, 2012
by Peggy
Comments Off on Know Your Plastics: What is the PlantBottle?

Know Your Plastics: What is the PlantBottle?

Bioplastics can be confusing because we aren’t all chemists and we’re happy to gather from a quick glance that a brand we buy is making some kind of effort regarding the environment.  According to a 2010 Beveragepulse survey cited by … Continue reading

September 19, 2012
by Peggy
Comments Off on PFCs Persist in Us

PFCs Persist in Us

PFCs (perfluorinated compounds) have been described by Environmental Working Group as “…destined to supplant DDT, PCBs, dioxin and other chemicals as the most notorious, global chemical contaminants ever produced.” Given that, you might be surprised to learn that a 2004 … Continue reading

Plastic Bottles: “Endless Possibilities” or Endless Liabilities?

August 27, 2012 by Peggy | Comments Off on Plastic Bottles: “Endless Possibilities” or Endless Liabilities?

Really? Bill McDonough, famed co-author of “Cradle to Cradle,” stumping for Nestle? I happened across this promotional video for Nestle Waters yesterday, and was dumbstruck:

In the video, a series of young people hold an instantly recognizable plastic water bottle in their hands. But the bottle is empty, apparently worthless. Then Bill McDonough tells us that what he sees is not an empty bottle, but a vessel of endless possibilities! Yes, that water bottle is a valuable resource.

We at Brng.it see that Nestle PET bottle as an almost completely unnecessary waste of valuable resources to begin with. Apart from emergency situations, there is little justification for the production of plastic bottles of water.  We can’t do a better job of explaining why than Annie Leonard does, in her excellent video, “The Story of Bottled Water,” so please watch it.

Bill McDonough rightly points out that bottles can (sometimes) be made into more bottles, or into fleece and carpet. But then what, Bill?  Plastics recycling is by and large a so-called “open loop” system. Plastics get about one more use before going to the landfill or incinerator.  The plain fact is that most plastic doesn’t ever get recycled. And worse yet, far too much gets into the environment, where it will never go away. We have scarcely begun to acknowledge this, let alone deal with the ramifications (see video below).

The most appalling thing about the Nestle video is the way it suggests that, hey, maybe consumers should consider recycling their plastic water bottles. Why do we find this so infuriating?  It’s because the most effective means of getting PET bottles recycled–if that’s the goal– is to require refundable bottle deposits.  Significant deposits, like the 10 cents per bottle currently being considered nationally in Australia. Yet Nestle, Coke and Pepsi, the big three water bottlers, staunchly oppose bottle deposit legislation.

Just this year, the state of Massachusetts planned to update its 30-year-old bottle deposit law. The legislation was wildly popular, with a poll indicating 77% of the public agreed that water bottles, juice bottles and sports drink bottles should all be added to the existing deposit law.  But in early July, at around the time Nestle released their “Endless Possibilities” video, lobbyists for Nestle, Coke, Pepsi, Ocean Spray and Polar Beverages of New England were actively pressuring legislators to reject the updated bottle bill for Massachusetts, claiming that it would decrease their profits. And they were successful.

Where Nestle and Bill McDonough see endless possibilities, we see endless and intolerable liabilities for people and the planet.

Don’t drink the bottled water, #BYOR!

 

August 23, 2012
by Peggy
Comments Off on Know Your Plastics: #1 PET

Know Your Plastics: #1 PET

Plastic #1.  PET or PETE, sometimes now also rPET (containing some recycled content) is short for Polyethylene Terephthalate.  Most plastic soda and water bottles are made of PET, as are many food containers.  Although ten U.S. states have bottle deposit … Continue reading

July 23, 2012
by Peggy
Comments Off on Forgot your Reusable?

Forgot your Reusable?

In a brilliant 30 minute interview on NPR’s Fresh Air, Edward Humes, author of the new book, Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash, expounds on America’s position as the leading producer of garbage in the world.  Toward the end … Continue reading

June 22, 2012
by Peggy
Comments Off on Waste-free Events Going Strong this Summer

Waste-free Events Going Strong this Summer

Summer’s here!  Exciting music festivals, rustic camping trips, and sunlit picnics are in many people’s plans. Something else is afoot, and we’re thrilled about it.  It’s the rise of the waste-free event.  We’ve all attended big events, so we know … Continue reading

Bottled Water on the Rebound?

May 22, 2012 by Peggy | Comments Off on Bottled Water on the Rebound?

National Geographic published an article this week on bottled water sales in the U.S.

The shocker is that bottled water sales are starting to pick up again, after a few years of decline.  Last year (2011) bottled water sales reached 9.1 billion gallons– over 29 gallons for every U.S. citizen– for which we paid $21.7 billion. Hard to believe we fork over that kind of money for something that’s practically free from the tap.

In recent years there has been a grassroots effort to call attention to the fact that the bottled water industry is bad for people and the planet. The big three bottled water companies, Coke, Pepsi and Nestle, want us to believe that drinking bottled water is better for us than drinking tap water, even though bottled water is often just tap water dressed in a PET package.  It’s packaged for our convenience (and their profits), but not for our health (see our post on chemicals that leach from packaging) or the long-term health of the planet (see this Ted Talk by Capt. Charles Moore on the problem of plastic pollution).

Here’s a basic review of the argument against bottled water  from Annie Leonard:

But at the same time bottled water sales seem to be picking up, opposition to any such trend is growing as well. A number of universities and local governments are rejecting bottled water. Loyola University in Chicago recently banned the sale of bottled water on its campus, stating in its press release, “We feel that safe and accessible water is a fundamental human right and must not be handled in ways that put profits over people.”

Avoid plastic-packaged water–costly to both pocket book and environment– and support protection of native water resources for all. #BYOR!