The picture above is part of Mount Franklin’s “environmentally friendly” campaign about their crushable bottle with 35% less plastic. But is this really better for the planet or better for their wallets?
Along with the less plastic, Mount Franklin advertises a warning about reusing plastic bottles: –
So instead of reusing we are just buying bottles, creating more waste and more damage to the earth. In 2006, 65% of Australia’s plastic water bottles ended up in landfill. These discarded bottles take up 38% of the total volume of litter. This seems a little bit ridiculous when we could easily switch to reusable water bottles, which we can refill from the tap.
In Australia most plastic bottles are made from PET, this type of plastic takes over 100years to biodegrade. These plastics can be recyclable, however, this still poses problems. PET plastic bottles are recommended not to be reused and use more non-renewable energy to melt down and release green house gases through this process. Crikey wrote an article a couple of years ago pointing out that the PET bottle recycling technology in Australia, results in the recycled plastic to degrading and leaching acetaldehyde, an organic chemical compound, into the bottles. Visy is the main producer of PET bottles in Australia, producing more than 2 billion PET bottles in FY2010-11. The public affairs manager for Visy, Tony Gray, backs this up and was quoted by Crikey saying that while acetaldehyde leaching has “no known health effects”, it leaves a noticeable “sweet taint” in bottled water.
Ultimately, if can not reuse something like plastic bottles and the water bottle companies are pushing us to continue to throw them away, what type of damage are we doing to ourselves and the environment? Anything that leaves a taste in water sounds a little suspicious to me and how can we move forward to a greener future when we stuck in our throw away attitude.