May Hooray 7

It’s a shame when doing our best to stay healthy results in us living in a less healthy and pleasant environment! So I was pretty happy to come across this story over the weekend.

A company called Avantium has found a way to make “plastic” water or soft drink bottles out of plants instead of traditional oil-based plastics. The result is a bottle which doesn’t require nearly as much fossil fuel, and which won’t stay around forever and ever if not properly recycled. With literally tens of millions of bottles being discarded by the day, they’ve become a huge water pollution problem in the oceans as well as a visual blight in our parks and cities where too few are bothered to put them in a blue bin to recycle, or even find a garbage can. And if they do end up in the garbage, they quickly fill up landfills. Ecowatch say that about 50 billion – billion – plastic water bottles were sold in the U.S.alone last year, up from 42 billion in 2015. And of those, only 23% get recycled. Container Recycling say an average of 60 million plastic bottles (water and pop) go into American landfills daily, or about 22 billion per year. With an average weight of 9 grams (or about 1/3 ounce) per bottle these days, that relates to 225 000 tons of plastic waste per year… and as much being simply tossed out along the roads or in parks or parking lots by the more slobbish among us. These bottles require millions of gallons of oil to make, and take hundreds of years to decompose if dumped. No wonder many were thirsty for a better way to keep from being dehydrated.

Avantium’s bottles are said to decompose naturally in no more than three years if left outside, possibly less in some environments, and being of plant material are biodegradable and if not actually helpful, at least not harmful to the environment. They “can be recycled, or returned to nature without harm,” the company suggests. Currently they’re using corn or sugar beets to make the product, but they soon hope to be able to use “biowaste” – things like the husks of the corn we assume – to do he same without negatively impacting the food supply.

Happily Coca Cola has pledged to have all their “plastic” bottles made of this or other biodegradable products as soon as 2023, as does Danone (a maker of some bottled waters and drinks as well as yogurt.) Brewer Carlsberg are trying out cardboard bottles with a liner made of the Avantium bio-plastic for their beer in some markets. We hope that Pepsico, Dr. Pepper, Anheiser Busch and other mass manufacturers of cold drinks will follow suit, and in the meantime, raise a glass – or plastic bottle- to Avantium and Coke, Danone and Carlsberg.

11 Replies to “May Hooray 7”

  1. WONDERFUL. I’ve read that hemp can make a sturdy packing material for electronics as well. Plastic needs to be OUTLAWED. I believe any thing made of plastic now can be created using biodegradables. The technology exists, it’s a matter of banning and enforcing the ban.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree… sort of. I don’t think we can arbitrarily ban it but I think we should phase it out … and do more for recycling. In the city I last lived in in Ontario, the city picked up recycling blue bins weekly but garbage only every two. These bottles are an encouraging sign. I sent a link to Pepsico asking if they plan to follow suit, so far haven’t had a response.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would give some time to phase old out and new in, but not much. See how quickly the factories began making corona medical necessities? It didn’t take long. Keep me posted on Pepsico! There might be a domino effect. I’d pay an extra few cents for bottles made with it, just like the bottle deposits now.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Likewise. I wish there were more bottle deposits. In Ontario, when I left, there was 10c a bottle on beer bottles, 5c on the cans and I think 25c on wine bottles – but nothing on pop or water ones, which seemed both discriminatory and also promoting waste. I tell you, you’d see lineups at the beer store with people returning the empties… which was good for the environment, needless to say.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I hear you on the discrimination between types of liquids, it’s the same here in MI. I buy LaCroix, which is a flavored soda water and there is no deposit on it. I toss all cans, bottles, plastics in the recyling bin these days. Not enough to drive to the store and risk C-19 for pennies. Our big grocery store has a room of machines that take them in, but they are germ-laden, poorly maintained, and always filling up and out of commission until someone empties them. Not what I would call user-friendly. Do they have bottle deposits where you’re at now?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I do too. If it works and is feasible, I think plastic single use containers should be banned when production of the biodegradable ones can meet demand.
      I am great at keeping hydrated (I drink a somewhat insane amount of coffee, which isn’t fantastic for that, but also drink vast quantities of water) and basically never go out without a water bottle. Around the house, I’ll refill them from the tap during the day to cut down on the number I use, and I’m adamant about recycling but I still feel bad how many we go through in our house. And feel pissed off every time I stop and look along roadsides or in parks even and see the thousands of them thrown out with no regard for the environment or aesthetics. It would be nice to think of them at least dissolving harmlessly in a few years.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I grew up in the country and we had our own private well so the tap water was really good. Yea it wasn’t all the stuff that we probably needed in it but it was awesome to drink. I miss those days. Now we have city water so yea we get the plastic bottles.
        Jennifer drinks coffee like crazy also.

        I know what you mean about the litter…i suddenly see Iron Eyes Cody.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I remember him, and those commercials!
        I don’t mind the tap water here, like I said, I’ll refill the bottles from the tap at home, but now only a few times, read too many things about the plastic breaking down and polluting the water (or bacteria building up) if you reuse too many times. Probaby should get around to getting an aluminum water bottle that would be good to take with me when I go outside.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yea I’ve started the tap water also at home…I tend to drink bottle water at work…Nashville water is not that great…at home it’s fine.

        Liked by 1 person

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