Purging Plastics

Petroleum-based plastic bags have gotten a lot of grief lately. First San Francisco banned them and now other cities are thinking of shunning the crinkling sacks as well. Could it be that they are just an easy target? Why aren’t people banning plastic cutlery? Plastic cups? Plastic bottles?

Let’s focus on plastic bottles for a second. An article on points out that Americans drank an average of 26 gallons of bottled water last year per person. Yet drinking water from those easily transportable containers is growing ever more popular, even though the packaging can be environmentally damaging. According to the article:

Packaging and shipping water consumes energy and contributes to global warming. Empty bottles add to litter and solid waste. And, as a rule, bottled water is no safer or healthier than the H2O that flows from municipal water systems.

Not only that, but plastics don’t ever seem to go away (sort of like diamonds). In the current issue of Orion magazine, Alan Weisman in “Polymers Are Forever” explains the research conducted by marine biologist Richard Thompson:

Thompson’s team realized that slow mechanical action—waves and tides that grind against shorelines, turning rocks into beaches—were now doing the same to plastics. The largest, most conspicuous items bobbing in the surf were slowly getting smaller. At the same time, there was no sign that any of the plastic was biodegrading, even when reduced to tiny fragments.

Although plastics will biodegrade eventually, wouldn’t it make more sense to use other vessels for our beverages? The CNN article offers an alternative:

Still, for consumers who want to minimize their impact on the environment and their waistlines, there's a good alternative to bottled water - namely, tap water and a reusable water bottle.

Brilliant. And totally retro.


Yeah but plastic bottles, reusable and otherwise might not be so good for health.. A REAL alternative would be nice.

Try a non-plastic kind: Sigg water bottles.

Or a water glass!