I’m attracted to reusable glass bottles and growlers. What’s not to like? Glass is a wonderful packaging option because it’s inert (no chemical leaching) and infinitely reusable over its lifetime. It can be recycled in a closed loop if it … Continue reading →
November 15, 2013
by Peggy Comments Off on 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 →
August 23, 2013
by Peggy Comments Off on SodaStream Shakes Up the Status Quo
Concerned as Brng.it is with waste and litter, we like to see a company that dispatches with the outdated resource consumption of older and more established competitors. When it comes to the beverage industry, we think SodaStream is on the … Continue reading →
March 19, 2013
by Peggy Comments Off on 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 12, 2013
by Peggy Comments Off on 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 5, 2012
by Peggy Comments Off on Virginia needs a container deposit law
I live in Charlottesville. It’s a beautiful part of central Virginia, but the state doesn’t have a container deposit system in place. Having lived in states where they do have deposits, let me tell you: you notice the difference right … Continue reading →
December 4, 2012
by Peggy Comments Off on 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?
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 (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 →
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.