03 October, 2007

Bottler Of A Footprint

One last thought, this time about bottled water. I mentioned the sensationalist thing about using the most water per household (in indirect ways) of any country in the world, yesterday. Today, quite coincidentally, on TV was something that really DOES deserve headlines - bottled water.

They mentioned another footprint, the "carbon footprint" and I'll add two more, the "rubbish footprint" and the "greenhouse footprint." I'll readily admit, I made those two up on the spot, but they should all be forming part of our ecological awareness.

Do you know how much water/energy/material goes into making the bottles, filtering the water, and filling those bottles? Distributing them by the truckload? Displaying them in outlets and keeping them cold for you? And then, do you recycle the bottle or throw it in with the general rubbish? Are you aware how much water/energy/pollution is needed to recycle the plastic? Or that some so-called recycling plants actually just throw them into the landfill anyway?

I'll set you a thought challenge - it's not a very responsible challenge, but it should point out something to you. Collect all your rubbish for a week - including the fine plastic garbage bags - and pile it up on a fireproof surface in or around your home. Now seriously consider setting fire to it. Would you like that amount of smoke and smell and toxic fumes in your place?

I'm betting you wouldn't - yet oxidising and breaking down that rubbish in a landfill or waste disposal plant will release exactly the same amount of pollution to the ecosystem. Not only that, but between five and twenty times that much toxicity has already been released by the manufacture of those goods - that the rubbish is now the sad remnant of.

Think about that the next time you buy plastic bottles of milk, tins of foods laced with preservatives, and your week's worth of loaves of bread from a factory outlet in plastic sleeves, and carry it all proudly home in six plastic shopping bags driving your six cylinder 3.8 litre touring class vehicle. THAT'S where you'll start to make a difference!

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