05 February 2011

Post 315: Bottled and Sold

Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water by Peter H. Gleick. ISBN: 9781597265287.

I hate the fact that there are people who don't recycle. I hate that recycling in most areas of this country is anywhere from difficult to nearly impossible. Really, we have no excuse for this. Everyone could have a curbside recycling program. It is better for us in the long run, because the less plastic and whatnot that ends up in our landfills the longer we can use those landfills. Ideally we wouldn't even need those, but every culture has had its communal trash heap. But the problem is not just recycling, we're hardly even reusing anymore.

That's right, there's that third R in the cycle that doesn't really get stressed as much. I'm sure that most people interpret the Reuse as once the item is recycled then I can reuse it, but recycling itself takes up a certain amount of energy and resources. If you can reuse that plastic bottle three or four more times before recycling it, that means you automatically reduce that container's carbon footprint. I constantly reuse plastic bottles, refilling them with tap water. I dislike the fact that I rely on plastic bottles to occasionally quench my thirst, but having that bottle in the car on a long road trip is cheaper and more convenient than having to stop at the gas station every time I'm thirsty. However, when I'm done with the bottle I don't automatically toss it. Rather than buying another 6 pack of ginger ale or similar beverage,* I take it with me to the rest stop and fill it up with water. I do this at least three or four times per bottle assuming they haven't been left in the hot car (which will degrade the plastic). On the rarer occasions that I purchase soda for home use, I will sometimes buy the plastic bottles and then keep them in the fridge for anywhere up to two months, swapping and filling them with water.

My preferred method of delivery for soda is still fountain drink or glass. The glass bottles don't actually have to be melted down to be recycled as long as they are still intact, so they are far more eco-friendly than plastic will ever be. They also don't affect the taste of the beverage as much as plastic containers. And of course with fountain drinks I only use one paper cup (although I think burger places, etc. ought to allow and encourage use of personal containers) and get as much as I want. Since I usually refill at least once, this is much less waste than the plastic bottles. We really ought to be thinking of other things we can do to reuse all those cans and bottles and jars before recycling them, and we should definitely do so if we have no intentions to recycle them at all.

PS: I am a huge proponent of book recycling. I think it's one of the best things ever invented and people have done some really amazing things with them, like turning them into purses, works of art, furniture, and much more. What is your favorite thing to recycle, and what do you do with it?

My review can be found on Goodreads.
LibsNote: Free digital review copy provided by NetGalley.
*I prefer clear and low/no caffeine drinks when I'm driving because it is already difficult to stay hydrated in that environment. If I need caffeine I usually spring for a cup of coffee and use it as an excuse to stretch and rest my eyes from the road.

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