restlessknights

The knights are restless and for good reason.

Keeping It Bottled Up

You know that nothing makes a knight more restless than keeping things bottled up inside. When that happens, they get sloppy with their lances; there is a reduction in the number of saved damsels in distress, and new leases on life to the endangered dragon population are granted.

But what should stress out even the non-knight population is the amount of detritus in the form of empty plastic bottles seen on the side of roads. Since there seems to be no moral compunction against littering, the road is a convenient place to toss that empty beverage bottle, after it has done its damage to your liver with the world’s fastest sugar delivery system. In fact, soda delivers sugar even faster than Mitt Romney fired people at Bain.

If bottle debris is not a problem for you, think about the waste associated with plastic bottles and all of its negatives on society.  Incidentally, they are estimated to be about half the waste stream.

First, plastic bottles are a petroleum product. Last time I checked, petroleum is the commodity for which we sacrificed four thousand lives, a trillion in un-budgeted military expenses and the wrecking of an entire country that did nothing to us to provoke such an invasion. And, despite the fact that there is a surplus of oil supply compared to demand, prices for this viscous goo are always threatening to rise meteorically. This is especially true when tensions are heightened in the Middle East (like that ever happens).

Making more bottles out of this scarce resource seems a waste unto itself, especially since most of those plastic containers could be reclaimed.  This would obviate the need to use even more of that sludge for which we send young people to die. Did you know that in 2006, Americans purchased over 31 billion liters of bottled water that took 17 million barrels of oil to produce, with a carbon footprint of 2.5 million tons of CO2? That was five years ago, and I doubt if those numbers have diminished since then.

In my adopted state of Florida, a bill is being considered that would place a deposit on each plastic bottle purchased. The legislature and governor has not always acted in our best interest, so they need to hear from you.  Would you mind that much, paying another nickel or dime for your bottle of sugary poison, or the more fashionable Evian, so that there would be an incentive to return those bottles for re-use? You could personally reclaim that deposit, or let the many unemployed folks in our state gather them from the streets and otherwise pristine beaches to earn a few bucks. Would you like to join the forty other U.S. states (and Guam) that treat plastic bottles sustainably? http://www.bottlebill.org/legislation/usa.htm

If you agree, please join me in signing this petition now!

We could all be doing our part to reduce plastic bottle use by doing a few simple things:

  • Carry a refillable water bottle. There is a vast selection available at most retailers, from $10 and up. These can replace the many plastic bottles for which you paid up to $1.25 per pint of water (gasoline is only 72 cents a pint by comparison).
  • Store water in much larger containers. If your tap water doesn’t taste quite right (and it probably doesn’t), think about a service that delivers quality water at regular intervals, and carts away the original for re-use.
  • Talk to the event handler at your business or organization. Suggest pitchers of water instead of those tiny throw-aways sitting in front of each guest.
  • Think twice before consuming that next bottle of soda. The teeth you save may be your own, not to mention the empty calories, or worse, the artificial sweetener to which you are exposing your organs.

Okay, I’m through ranting (for the moment). Now that I know my message has gotten through, loud and clear, my night might not be quite as restless going forward.

For more on the environment, check out my non-profit website, OurNeighborhoodEarth.org.

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2 thoughts on “Keeping It Bottled Up

  1. Two suggestions. People probably won’t think them practical now, but in a decade of so the pressure to conserve blow the cap off the bottle.

    First is charge a lot more for the bottle. Instead of a nickel or dime deposit, charge a buck or two, even those tiny plastic, crinkly Aqua Fina shits. Throwing away a used plastic bottle would literally be throwing away dollar bills. If you return the empties to the store of purchased, you won’t have to keep paying the six extra dollars.

    Secondly, much more controversial and harder to accept, but will virtually eliminate the waste problem to zero. Think of what it’ll mean to the oceans, the forests and mountains, as well as the wildlife choking to death as I write this. Every family will have a bunch of containers labeled, “Milk”, “Coke”, “Beer” … etc. They take these gallon- or two-sized bottles and place them under the appropriate tap of a tank in the respective stores. This is precisely the system used at Wal-Mart for drinking water, except it will be used for everything we can think of including “Joy”, “Tide” or “Olive Oil.”

    When done, they rinse out the container and reuse it with no debris.

    This idea, I fear, will only be practicable when people have sufficiently developed “Earth Consciousness” and have learned to work together for the common good.

    The Chinese have a chant for it: GUNG-HO. “Pull together.”

  2. Judy Wysnewski on said:

    GREAT write up!!! Makes me more aware than ever.

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