Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Give plastic water bottles the heave ho

A goal this year should be to get everyone to use fewer plastic water bottles, and to recycle the ones you do use. Why is this so important? Because only about 12 percent of "custom" plastic bottle are recycled. So, while we're patting ourselves on the back for being healthier, we're making the environment sicker by bloating the landfills with as many as 40 million plastic water bottles a day (per Patricia Franklin of the Container Recycling Institute, as quoted in an interview with MSNBC).
The best alternative is to use reusable stainless steel water bottles. Or, a reusable plastic bottle with a built-in filter. Both are available from various sources on the Internet for less than $20 each.
But, a second step is to just recycle. As I walked my beloved dog around the edges of various playing fields, I would see fields littered with plastic bottles --- many unopened ---- left from an afternoon of play. I spent a goodly amount of time emptying these bottles to allow the water to return to the environment and bringing the bottle home to put in my recycler.
Is it so difficult for the coaches of these teams to take 10 minutes at the end of teaching soccer, softball, football, etc. to teach their charges to care about the environment enough to police the field? And, there's money to be made. Teams can recylce the bottles and use the money at the end of the season to have a party.
So, here's my pledge: I'm going to continue to walk the fields picking up bottles despite the death of my beloved companion. I'm going to purchase a filter-topped water bottle as a gift for a friend. And, I'm going to drink more water, just not out of single-serving plastic bottles. So, I'm asking everyone to do one thing extra in 2008. Let me know what you're doing. Do you have a resolution? P.S. Next time let's talk about chemical leaching from plastic bottles.

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