plastic

Plastic Fails to Fill Recycling Promise

3 Creative Ways to Kill the Need for Single-Use Plastic Bottles

We’re always on the lookout for creative ways to reduce kill the use of plastic in innovative ways. We’ve found 3 examples we just have to share – an event, a city and a school:

At the Montréal Jazz Fesitival, the organization invited Fontaine Naya a water-bottle refilling service from Quebec-based Naya Waters designed to minimize plastic waste.  For an affordable price (CAN$1.50) event patrons could simply refill their water bottles and stay hydrated while doing good for the planet.  Public, outdoor events are huge consumers of plastic water bottles, this jazz festival has been carbon-neutral 2008 but this past summer they focused on water and reducing plastic consumption and trash. Their success, we hope, will inspire other event organizers to consider a water refilling stations to keep their crowds healthy and hydrated.

TapIt is a community program that enables people to refill their water bottles at participating cafés, completely free of charge in, and around, New York City (and now San Francisco and Washington, DC!). For the water-totting crowds in this city, the goal of this program is to help people stay healthy and hydrated without relying on single-use plastic bottles. And it’s so easy – restaurant or café with a soda dispenser or tap that gives clean drinking water can sign up as a partner. Thirsty consumers can find taps online or via TapIt’s iPhone app, and are provided with information on the type of water that’s available, telling discerning customers whether the water’s filtered or non-filtered, room temperature or chilled. How great is that?

In Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, the Kingswood Regional High School and Middle School a recently rebuilt middle and high school go beyond LEED certification, and for the coveted CHPS certification. Aside from new synthetic and natural turf athletic fields as well as a Geothermal Ground Heat Exchanger piping system to serve the entire campus, the new school takes advantage of natural light,  LED lighting when needed, energy sensors and other energy-saving efforts. But what really stood out to us? They have been smart enough to include reusable water bottle refilling stations right by the traditional water fountains on campus. Through their efforts, they are teaching the next generation the importance, the beauty, and the need to be green in our personal and public environments.

We’re so impressed that people, communities, events and even whole cities are finding ways to encourage people to stop using single-use plastic
bottles and reuse environmentally-friendly water bottles. Now you’ve got access to water, and we’ve built the only reusable glass water bottle made from a minimum of 75% post-consumer recycled glass and ZERO plastic.

Share with us, what do you do to minimize your use of single-use plastics?

Plastic Fails to Fill Recycling Promise

This past week, The Wall Street Journal, reported on a PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic recycling plant in Spartanburg, S.C. built to meet the demands for recycling plastics. What started out as a promise to push PET products like beverage bottles from landfills (and our oceans) and back into reusable materials, has fallen miserably short. Centered on Coca-Cola’s promise to recycle 100% of its bottles and cans by 2020, the article focused on the challenges of  getting plastic out of our trash and into recycling facilities like the one here in S.C.  Unlike glass, which can be endlessly recycled and not lose its quality, plastic recycling requires type-based separation or it can be deemed defective and defect cannot be reused for product packaging.  It’s not just the mixing of plastics that’s the issue – simply put – not enough of our plastics are making it out of the trash and into the recycling bin.

A few points that stood out:

  • As a nation, we recycle a smaller percentage of bottles today than we did in 1995.
  • Coca-Cola’s bottles contain less PET recycled content today than they did 5 years ago – 5% versus 10%.
  • PepsiCo’s bottles contain only 10% recycled PET.
  • The U.S. recycling rate for plastic bottles made from PET, typically derived from petroleum, was 28% in 2009.

You can read the whole WSJ article here, or watch the video with reporter Mike Esterel.

What’s clear is that while we wait for incentive-based programs like bottle-deposits,
or we wait for better access to convenient recycling, or while we wait for engineers to find ways to better recycle plastics, our landfills and oceans are filling up with the nearly 75% of plastic that ends up in the trash.

What can we do? Here are 3 things you can do to help put plastics where they belong:

  1. Limit the plastic you consume. Choose and use a reusable glass bottle whenever possible. Use glass food storage containers and limit purchasing ‘convenience sized’ products which are usually plastic-wrapped and highly wasteful.
  2. Recycle. If you have to use plastic, we hope you’ll recycle it at your curbside, or in public recycling centers.
  3. Reward.  If you live in one of the 10 states with a bottle-deposit reward program, take advantage and get that coin back in your pocket. If you’re in one of the 40 states without such a program, write your state elected officials and get
    rewarded for recycling.  (States with bottle-deposit reward programs have on average 2x the plastic recycling rate of states without such a program.)

 

Recycled Plastic Bottles As Art

There are a thousand and more reasons to rid ourselves of plastic – our health, the environment, the cost in resources – and that’s just a start. In the U.S. less than 25% of plastic bottles are ever recycled, the rest ending up in landfills. But we know artists who are working with our throwaway plastic bottles and creating public works of art. While we wish there were no plastic bottles (or at least every one recycled), here are five examples of our plastic trash turned into public art:

Have you found any ‘plastic bottle art’ that you’d like to share?

Tapped – The Real Story of Your Bottled Water

Sometimes the only way we get to the truth, the way we get behind the marketing, ad campaigns and propaganda is through truth-tellers. We share with you some of the best reasons to evolve beyond plastic – your health, the environment, cost savings and more. But sometimes the visual story tells us more and moves us to more urgent action. The documentary Trapped is one of those visual stories sharing the truth of your plastic bottled water. Not only are plastic bottles leaching chemicals, clogging our landfills, floating in our oceans, but the about40% of bottled water is nothing more than tap water. That’s right, the same stuff that comes out of your faucet.  So check out the trailer, then check out the film and tell us what you think.

 

Video: Breast Cancer and the Link to Plastics

Once again, the links between plastics and our health are making headlines. In a recent article in Slate magazine shared:

Recent studies show that some pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and plastic additives appear to change when and how the mammary gland develops. Even low doses, close to what average Americans are exposed to currently, have been linked to altered development, cell growth, and gene expression in animal mammary glands. The chemicals include the notorious baby-bottle chemical bisphenol A, dioxin (a by-product from burning plastic and a common food contaminant), phthalates (plastic additives), atrazine (a top-selling herbicide in the United States, now banned in Europe), flame retardants, and stain repellants. PFOA, a common chemical used to make Teflon, appears to delay puberty in animal pups and reduce the size of the mammary gland, while chemicals that mimic estrogen may accelerate puberty.

Just reading that one paragraph, reminded of this great TED talk from Jeanne Rizzo, the CEO of Breast Cancer Fund:

What do you think?