November 15, 2013
by Peggy
Comments Off on Fluorinated Chemicals in Food Contact Materials

Fluorinated Chemicals in Food Contact Materials

Recently I listened in on the first in a series of free webinars organized by the Green Science Policy Institute covering six classes of chemicals that are of particular concern because they are common in consumer products, but not adequately … Continue reading

September 13, 2013
by Peggy
Comments Off on Sustainable Consumption and Production

Sustainable Consumption and Production

We need to get there. In a recent webinar, I learned that the United Nations and other groups from all around the world are looking at ideas and templates for delinking economic growth and environmental degradation. Some of the quickest … Continue reading

July 31, 2013
by Peggy
Comments Off on Harry Potter and the Magic of Perspective (or How to Make Plastic Pollution Disappear)

Harry Potter and the Magic of Perspective (or How to Make Plastic Pollution Disappear)

Recently my 8 year-old daughter has been swept up in the Harry Potter novels, like her brother before her.  Seemingly over night, she’s been transformed into a speed reader, scarcely able to put down The Deathly Hallows.  J.K. Rowling’s captivating … Continue reading

March 19, 2013
by Peggy
Comments Off on Coke, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Responsibility for your Packaging?

Coke, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Responsibility for your Packaging?

Coke was once an exemplary steward of resources and demonstrated respect for the environment and for the virtues of thrift and conservation. Witness these two glass Coke bottles, a 6.5 oz. and a 16 oz., that are real workhorses,  specifically … Continue reading

March 18, 2013
by Peggy
Comments Off on Repair and Remanufacturing are the Future

Repair and Remanufacturing are the Future

Kyle Wiens, founder of iFixit, delivered a web-presentation this week organized by the EPA.  iFixit is based on the simple premise that “Repair is a cornerstone of our environmental and economic future.” Those of us concerned about a steadily growing … Continue reading

March 12, 2013
by Peggy
Comments Off on Coke’s Motto: No Deposit, No Refill

Coke’s Motto: No Deposit, No Refill

Not so long ago I was picking up roadside trash, appalled at the number of bottles and cans I found along a short stretch of suburban asphalt.  255 bottle and cans to be exact. Among them, one stood out to … 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

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!