71 posts categorized "Plastic Bottles"

April 01, 2011

Hawaii-sized Recycled Island to be Built from Ocean Garbage Patch

Mother Nature Network 4.1.11

PatchDutch architect Ramon Knoester has an ambitious design that will turn the 7 billion pounds of plastic trash swirling in the Pacific Ocean into the world's most eco-friendly society. That's right. He wants to create a 100 percent sustainable floating island for interested inhabitants. The island made from collected debris will bob somewhere between San Francisco and Hawaii. And although the idea may seem unthinkable, Koester's firm, WHIM architecture, is already in the process of designing a prototype for the fittingly named "Recycled Island," reports Discovery News.

Check out the project's website for more information about Recycled Island, or learn about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch here

Click here to read the full article.

Image: Ingrid Taylar/ Flickr

March 30, 2011

Turtle Found that Pooped Plastic for a Month

Mother Nature Network 3.30.11

Main_turtle_16 One of the more disturbing effects of our over-indulgence and reliance on use-and-toss disposables rests in the significant health risks it poses to animals via marine pollution. Of the issues being discussed this week at the Fifth International Marine Debris Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii, one report that has experts talking is the appalling story of a sea turtle that ingested a large piece of plastic that became lodged in its gastrointestinal tract, preventing the turtle from normal digestion. After researchers dislodged the shard of plastic, the animal proceeded to defecate 74 foreign objects over the next month!

According to the report, which was issued by Seaturtle.org's Marine Turtle Newsletter (pdf), about half of all surveyed sea turtles have ingested plastic. 

See what shocking items this turtle ingested by reading the full article here. To access advice and follow conference events, visit the group's website here.
Image: Mnn.com

Plastic: Too Good to Throw Away

New York Times 3.23.11

18opedimg-popup Persistently avoiding plastic may seem key to combating over-consumption and the production of plastic-based materials, but, in reality, the issue is far more complex. In a recent Op-Ed piece, Susan Freinkel, a New York Times contributor and author of the forthcoming book Plastic: A Toxic Love Story, dispels the common misconception that suggests shunning plastic and settling for bag bans and fees will drastically alter the ethos of our culture.

Instead, Freinkel advocates for shifting the public perception of plastic as cheap and worthless to durable and profitable by eliminating its presence in disposables.

 Check out our "I'm not a . . ." or "Thank you" series, which offer affordable, sustainable alternatives to use-and-toss disposables like plastic bottles and bags.

To read the full article, click here.

Image: www.nytimes.com

March 22, 2011

China, Malaysia and Czech Republic Become Latest Nations to Ban BPA

GreenBiz.com 3.15.11

Detskelahvegrafika China, Malaysia and the Czech Republic have joined the list of countries setting bans on the notorious endocrine-mimicking chemical Bisphenol-A, which has been linked in lab tests to a wide range of health issues. However, the rationale behind the ban is arguably diminished by an erroneous compromise: Baby bottles will go, but cups, plastic food containers, receipts and the linings of tin cans containing BPA will remain available to the public. Only items with a higher probablility of exposure in children and infants are being targeted.

China's Ministry of Health announced it plans to ban any BPA-containing baby bottles or other food and drink items for children, but has no start date as of now, reported Shanghai Daily. Malaysia's ban on baby bottles made with BPA begins next March; and in order to comply with a European directive, the Czech Republic must recall polycarbonate baby bottles containing BPA as of June 1, 2011.

The Centers for Disease Control says 93-percent of us have BPA in our bodies.

To read the full article, click here.

Image: czechposition.com 

November 18, 2010

ACC Helps Block BPA Legislation

 New York Times  11.17.10         

Just yesterday, the American Chemistry Council successfully mobilized Republicans to block a pending food safety bill attempting to limit the use of BPA in baby bottles and dinking cups.

The bill would allow a six-month grace period for baby item manufacturers to cease use of the endocrine-disrupting chemical.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, expressed consternation, positing that the ACC’s choice to block the bill placed potential monetary gain over the health of our nations infants.

Read the whole article at The New York Times.

Spreading the word, one vacuum at a time

Electrolux-Concept-Vacs-x2-178x178 10.18.10 MSNBC

Stockholm-based appliance company Electrolux AB recently produced a custom set of five vacuum cleaners made from water-bourne plastic trash.

The refuse was collected from different oceans and seas across the globe, with each locale’s most prevalent trash dictating its vacuum’s unique look.

Though the vacuums are not for sale, they do work. Electrolux hopes these fashionable, functional pieces of art will begin a discussion about the growing problem of water-bound plastic pollution and perhaps even move people away from the use-and-toss culture that led to the current situation.

Read more at MSNBC.

October 14, 2010

The Great Atlantic Garbage Patch

WHOI 8.20.2010

Scientists with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Sea Education Association have been collecting data concerning the presence of plastic in the Atlantic Ocean for several decades. They've recently published a pair of studies analyzing the data. Here are a few highlights from the writeup in Oceanus:

Assessing 22 years of data collected by SEA ships ... researchers found that more than 60 percent of the tows contained detectable plastic debris. Average densities rivaled those reported from the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” ranging from 1,400 pieces per square kilometer in the Caribbean to more than 20,000 pieces per square kilometer in the Sargasso Sea.

Yes, you read that right. Average density of plastic debris in large areas of the Atlantic "rivaled" the Pacific Garbage Patch. If that's not scary enough, it shattered the Pacific Patch's record in other areas.

...the highest value recorded during the 22-year period was 580,000 pieces per square kilometer at 24.6°N east of the Bahamas. The region, where 83 percent of all the plastic debris was collected, is known as the North Atlantic subtropical gyre, a part of the ocean bounded by a series of wind-driven currents, such as the Gulf Stream, that collectively flow clockwise around the subtropical North Atlantic.

In areas of the North Atlantic, we've recorded plastic present at 30 times the amount of the now-legendary Pacific Patch.

Additionally the research has lead SEA and WHOI to a few answers and a number of intriguing new questions; If PET plastic bottles litter our beaches and continue to make their way into the ocean, why have we found almost no trace of them in the oceanic samples?

Learn more by reading the complete Oceanus article here.

September 21, 2010

A Safe New Way to Dispose of BPA

White-rot-fungus-1 Scientific American 5.10.2010

A new strategy for disposing of plastic containing the pollutant Bisphenol-A was recently published in the journal Biomacromolecules.

Researchers experimenting with fungus already used for bioremediation pre-treated plastic with ultraviolet light and heat. They buried the treated plastic and used untreated plastic as a control group, exposing both to a variety of microorganisms already used for bioremediation (cleaning up polluted sites by way of intentional exposure to certain life forms--fungus in this case).

One year later the control plastic remained untouched, while the treated plastic had been completely broken down by the microorganisms, leaving no trace of the endocrine disruptor.

Check out the abstract in Biomacromolecules or the Scientific American Podcast that brought it to our attention.

Dutch Plan to Turn Waste Into Living Space

Ventnor Blog - 6.30.10

A group of scientists from Holland are planning to construct an "Eco Island" by collecting and recycling just under 100 million pounds of plastic bottles from the Pacific Ocean.
The plan is to create a completely habitable island and populate it with about 500,000 people. The proposed island would be the size of Hawaii, self-sufficient for food, and would use solar and wave power to supplement its power supply.

Read the full story here.

Our Take: This is a clever way to raise worldwide awareness of a plethora of issues concerning waste. The project touches on everything from land usage, carbon footprint reduction and power consumption to plastic waste and the polluted state of our oceans.
Sadly, the amount of plastic to be used in the proposed island would be less than 20% of the amount disposed of by the US in just 2008, and we've already called plenty of attention to the folly of trying to solve the plastic bag problem through recycling.

BPA Wiping Out Lobster Population

Lobster-die-offs Treehugger 8.11.10

Scientists at the University of Connecticut recently linked a major decline in the population of lobsters native to the New York coast with a rise in a few pollutants, including bisphenol A(BPA) from plastic waste.

The three-year, $3 million dollar study claims that a specific group of pollutants are working as endocrine disruptors. This lengthens the maturing lobsters' molting cycle, leaving them without chitinous armor for weeks at a time. This further results in deformities, increased susceptibility to disease, and in many cases, death. The coastal lobster population has declined 85% in the last twelve years.

Read the whole article here.

Our Take: Most of us have heard about BPA leaching from some plastic bottles. This article just offers further cause for worry. This data confirms the no-brainer advice we've been giving for years - avoid BPA as much as possible. And remember, it's not just plastics that pose a risk. Cans are another important source of BPA

Catastrophes like this come from decades of mindless waste and pollution. Buy high-quality reusables; they won't wind up floating in the ocean and they don't contain toxins like BPA to begin with.

Plastiki Completes Voyage

S-PLASTIKI-large The Huffington Post - 7.23.10

The Plastiki has been sailing the Pacific Ocean since mid-March and recently reached the destination of its maiden voyage. The journey lasted four months and spanned approximately 8,300 miles from San Francisco to Australia.
The expedition aimed to raise awareness of plastic over-consumption. The Plastiki's hull was constructed of more than 12,000 empty plastic bottles. The Plastiki website estimated that over the course of the intercontinental excursion, the United States used more than 8.7 billion plastic bottles.

Read the full article here.

Our Take: Interesting way for an eccentric heir to draw attention to the problem of water-bound plastics and illustrate how plastic garbage can be reused in innovative ways. For more, read our article on plastic's impact on oceans.

Greener Polycarbonate Production

BPAfreeBottles Researchers from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore have developed a new method of polycarbonate production that could be used to manufacture BPA-free bottles in the near future.

The bottles would be non-toxic and leach-free, plus the production method would literally take greenhouse gasses out of the air and use them as ingredients to create the bottles. The new polycarbonate can contain 40% C02 by volume. Read the full article here.

Our Take: While this new technology is only in its infancy, the adoption of such green-friendly practices by companies such as Eastman-Tritan(link to Eastman Tritan FAQ) would mark notable progress to reducing our carbon footprint, and another reason to feel good about using a high-quality reusable bottle.

May 27, 2010

Peter Gleick discusses Our Obsession With Bottled Water

6a00d8341c670d53ef0111688740b1970c-200wi NPR 5.17.10

Peter Gleick, freshwater expert and author of Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water, recently sat down with NPR to discuss the plague of bottled water in the United States. He contends that most bottled water comes from municipal water supplies which makes us wonder - how is this a multi-billion dollar global industry? 

Stop getting scammed. Bring your own bottle and spare the landfills. 

Read more here, and listen to the interview below.

May 21, 2009

OUR SCOOP: Cydney Lewis Eco-Art

Cydneylewis ReusableBags.com 05.28.09

Local Chicago artist Cydney Lewis, and friend of our founder Vincent Cobb and his wife Marni, creates one-of-a-kind sculptures out of everyday items. Rather than throwing away plastic, paper, wire and wood, Lewis fashions the would-be trash into wonderful pieces of art.

Lewis's jewelry pieces are being sold at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art.

Link: Cydney M. Lewis art

Our Take: Another example of a growing trend we’re seeing – using throwaway items we think of as trash or a nuisance and turning them into something artistic. Artwork that repurposes our waste helps draw attention to the issue of consumption in a creative way.

A Cautionary Video About America's 'Stuff'

Storyofstuff The New York Times 5.10.2009

The thick-lined drawings of the Earth, a factory and a house, meant to convey the cycle of human consumption, are straightforward and child-friendly. So are the pictures of dark puffs of factory smoke and an outlined skull and crossbones, representing polluting chemicals floating in the air.

Which is one reason “The Story of Stuff,” a 20-minute video about the effects of human consumption, has become a sleeper hit in classrooms across the nation.

Our Take: Another great production from Free Range Studios – we endorse it as a wake-up call about how much we waste in our daily lives. The 20-minute video is quick and easy to digest & fills in the gap in environmental science left by outdated textbooks. We highly recommend watching it.

Link: A Cautionary Video About America’s ‘Stuff’

Watch the video here: www.storyofstuff.com

OUR SCOOP: Join the EWG Water Label Scavenger Hunt

ReusableBags.com 5.08.09 

By now, most of us know that plastic water bottles are bad for us and bad for the environment. But have you ever wondered about the quality of the water itself? Many studies show that bottled water is often no different than tap water.

One of our favorite non-profits, The Environmental Working Group, is running a special Bottled Water Label Scavenger Hunt to help discover what’s in our bottled water. Until June 15, simply collect and send labels, and you’ll be helping the group collect samples to test. Plus, you’ll be entered to win a free reusable bottle and reusable bag.

Here are the details:
- Collect labels from any non-sparkling, unflavored bottled water.
- Write down the name & location of the store you bought it from, date of purchase, and your name, email and mailing address.
- Mail to:
Environmental Working Group
Attn: Nneka Leiba
1436 U St. NW, Suite 100
Washington D.C. 20009

For more information, visit: http://www.ewg.org

Our Take:  Bottled water is a waste – consuming tremendous resources to produce, then sitting in landfills or littering our streets – and all for something we can basically get for free. Adopting a high quality reusable water bottle is one of the simplest changes we all can make. Learn more about the problems with plastic bottles here.

April 30, 2009

Go Green, Save Money

IMG_5649-1 - resized The Oprah Winfrey Show 4.22.09

Our plastic bag counter was featured on Oprah’s Earth Day Show, “Go Green Save Money,” as a reminder of the thousands of plastic bags consumed every second around the world.

We were also listed in the “Going Green Resources” page at Oprah.com – for our hand-picked selection of 700+ reusables. Many were featured in the Earth Day Lunch Challenge, which shows Oprah encouraging people to switch from disposable lunch options to reusable ones. 

See the Green Resources Directory here and our Plastic Bag Counter here.

April 01, 2009

Wash. bill to ban BPA in baby bottles appears dead

Seattle Post Intelligencer 3.30.09  SeattlePostIntelligencer

Washington won't be the first state in the nation to ban a controversial chemical from baby bottles and other food and drink containers for children 3 and younger.

Our Take: We applaud Washington for its leadership in trying to ban BPA at the state level. Too bad the bill won't make it through the legislature. We hope the FDA will make it federal law to ban BPA when it gives the data a second look this year. (We aren't holding our breath. Until then, our advice remains the same - avoid the stuff.)

Link: Wash. bill to ban BPA in baby bottles appears dead

No BPA For Baby Bottles In U.S.

The Washington Post 3.06.09  WashingtonPost

The six largest manufacturers of baby bottles will stop selling bottles in the United States made with bisphenol A, a controversial chemical widely used in plastics but increasingly linked to a range of health effects.

The manufacturers declared their intentions after Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, joined by the attorneys general in Connecticut and New Jersey, wrote to the bottle makers and asked them to voluntarily stop using the chemical.

Our Take: It's about time bottle manufacturers respond to pressure to stop using BPA in their products. Congrats to the Connecticut, Delaware and New Jersey Attorney Generals for demanding regulation of this harmful chemical - if the FDA's not going to do it, someone has to.

Link: No BPA For Baby Bottles In U.S.

Plastic-Bottle Boat Ready to Sail

Plasticboat National Geographic 3.2009 

Explorer, environmentalist, and British celebrity David de Rothschild will set out on a 11,000-mile (17,703-kilometer) journey across the Pacific Ocean at the end of March—in a boat made of plastic bottles.

Our Take: The "Plastiki" has set sail - bringing awareness to the issue of out-of-control plastic bottle consumption and offering us a glimpse into how at least some of the 25 billion bottles trashed each year can be reused.

Link: Plastic-Bottle Boat Ready to Sail

Watch a video about the "Plastiki" here...

February 19, 2009

Recycled Clothing - Converting recycled plastic into fabric

Business Week 2.17.09 Businessweek

Imagine your six-pack covering your six-pack. Plastic soda and water bottles are being turned into sweaters. We explore the process of converting plastic into fabric and its growing use.

Our Take:  A great video showing how post-consumer plastic bottles and containers are converted into durable, wearable fabrics. We love this innovation – our rPET bags have been repurposing old plastic bottles for years, at some of the same fabric mills used by Patagonia. Stay tuned for more textile innovations – the most sustainable production process for reusable bags.

Link: Recycled Clothing – converting recycled plastic into fabric

New Safety Law Doesn't Mean All's Well in Toyland

NPR 2.12.09  Npr

A new federal law took effect this week banning chemicals called phthalates in children's toys and other kids' products. While the ban was hailed as a victory for children's health, it's no guarantee that the products are safe.

That's because companies currently aren't required to publicly disclose the chemicals they use in place of phthalates — and little is known about the health effects of one of the most widely used alternatives.

Our Take:  We’re glad to hear that phthalates have finally been banned from children’s toys (it’s about time!). However, as the article cautions, it’s tough to know whether toys contain the harmful chemical in the first place – making it difficult to regulate. Not to mention, the 80,000 phthalate substitutes being used in its place, whose toxicity isn’t known. We suggest steering clear of any plastics that aren’t thoroughly tested and from a trusted source.

Listen here

Link: New Safety Law Doesn’t Mean All’s Well in Toyland

February 18, 2009

Plastic chemical may stay in body longer: study

Reuters UK 1.28.09Bpa  

A controversial chemical used in many plastic products may remain in the body longer than previously thought, and people may be ingesting it from sources other than food, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday.

While the belief had been BPA was quickly and completely eliminated from the body through urine, this study found people who had fasted for even a whole day still had significant levels of the chemical.

Link: Plastic chemical may stay in body longer: study

January 19, 2009

The Surfrider Foundation wants to wipe out pollution

SurfriderNJ APP.com 1.18.09

Bill Rosenblatt picks up dozens of plastic bottle caps and cigar tips every time he takes his dog Happy for a walk on the beach.

All told, the former mayor has collected about 5,000 to 10,000 caps and about 2,000 tips from beaches in Asbury Park, Allenhurst and here since November.

"I'm really heartbroken," said Rosenblatt, a Loch Arbour resident and member of the Jersey Shore Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, an international nonprofit environmental group. "What kind of oceans are my grandchildren going to find when they're adults?...Plastic is forever."

Link:  The Surfrider Foundation wants to wipe out pollution

'Trashion' Trend: Dumpster Couture Gets a Boost at Green Inaugural Ball

The Wall Street Journal  1.13.09Obamajacket

In the world of trashy fashion, designer Nancy Judd has hit the big time.

Ms. Judd spends her days in a studio here crafting clothing from castoff plastic bags, electrical wire and old cassette tapes...

The star piece: A man's coat made from Mr. Obama's campaign fliers. She says it took her 200 hours to cut and paste and sew it.

Link:  'Trashion' Trend: Dumpster Couture Gets a Boost at Green Inaugural Ball

Price meltdown takes the green out of recycling

Recyclingpile MLive.com - The Grand Rapids Press  1.04.09

Recycling isn't generating the right kind of green these days...

Just months after riding an incredible high, the recycling market has tanked almost in lockstep with the global economic meltdown.

As consumer demand for autos, appliances and new homes dropped, so did the steel and pulp mills' demand for scrap, paper and other recycled materials used to manufacture new products.

Recyclers across the country are finding it more difficult to find buyers. Some are describing the downturn as the worst and most rapid ever.

Link: Price meltdown takes the green out of recycling

January 08, 2009

Clemson research boosts biodegradable plastics

GreenvilleOnline.com 12.29.08

The plastic bottles you are drinking from could soon be made from corn instead of petroleum, with research at Clemson University making biodegradable plastic more applicable for widespread uses, experts say…

Although the plastic is biodegradable, it’s not necessarily as simple as throwing a bottle onto a compost heap…

Our Take:  Bio-plastics are a promising invention for replacing some plastics. But an obvious downside – it still take significant natural resources to grow and process the corn to create the plastic. Overall, reducing consumption and using reusable items to replace our disposables addiction is a smart thing we can all do right now that will have a huge impact.

Link: Clemson research boosts biodegradable plastics

A life without plastics?

The Chicago Tribune 12.27.08ChicagoTribuneLogo

Amid a recent flurry of worrisome reports about plastic, a simple question came up: Could we live without it?

I decided to try. For one week, I pledged to buy no new plastic and to keep the kids away from it as much as possible.

Our Take:  A great article by a working mom that shows it’s possible to make gradual changes towards consuming less plastic in our daily lives. She discovers the wisdom of reusables – and reinforces that none of us will ever eliminate plastic items, but every small step makes a big difference!

Link: A life without plastics?

FDA to Reconsider Plastic Bottle Risk

Nytimesbottle The New York Times 12.24.08

Weeks after its own advisory board accused the Food and Drug Administration of failing to adequately consider research about the dangers of bisphenol-A, found in many plastic baby bottles, plastic food containers and metal can linings, the agency has agreed to reconsider the issue.

Our Take:  Finally, the FDA is admitting that BPA may pose a risk to human health. Based on the overwhelming evidence, we expect this “second look” at the data will confirm the no-brainer advice we’ve been giving for years – avoid BPA as much as possible. And remember, it’s not just plastics that pose a risk. Cans are another important source of BPA – more than 2 billion pounds of which is produced a year, according to this article.

Link: FDA to Reconsider Plastic Bottle Risk 

Toronto votes for plastic bag fee, banning the water bottle

National Post 12.02.08 Posted_Toronto

After two days of debate and as many as 25 proposed amendments, Toronto council last night voted by a margin of three-to-one for a groundbreaking series of packaging-reduction bylaws.

Our Take:  Huge news! While Chicago implemented a bottled water tax in 2008, this is the first bottled water ban we’re aware of – congratulations, Toronto. Banning the sale of plastic water bottles at all city-run facilities is sure to put a dent in consumption. Unfortunately, the 5-cent bag fee voted through just isn’t enough to change consumer behavior.

Link: Toronto votes for plastic bag fee, banning the water bottle 

Beaujolais Nouveau looking green this year

The Denver Post 11.16.08Beaujolaisbottles

With an eye toward shipping costs and the environment, Boisset Family Estates in France has announced it will export all its Beaujolais Nouveau to the United States this year in plastic. Other wine and champagne producers, such as Fetzer Vineyards in California, also are converting to lighter-weight packaging…

The move will save the company up to 33 percent on freight charges, but Boisset is emphasizing that the switch will reduce its carbon footprint, because the plastic bottle weighs one-eighth as much as a typical 14-ounce glass bottle. 

Our Take:  Who knows if the environmental benefits of lightweight plastic outweigh glass – even if it saves fuel, once you produce plastic it’s here to stay. Not to mention, who wants to drink wine out of a plastic bottle?!? Sounds disgusting – and we’re concerned about leaching, too.

Link: Beaujolais Nouveau looking green this year

November 13, 2008

Panel Faults F.D.A. on Stance That Chemical in Plastic Is Safe

The New York Times 10.29.08NY Times

A scientific panel has issued a blistering report against the Food and Drug Administration, saying it ignored important evidence in reassuring consumers about the safety of the controversial chemical bisphenol-A.

The agency’s evaluation of BPA “creates a false sense of security” and “overlooks a wide range of potentially serious findings,” the report said.

Link: Panel Faults F.D.A. on Stance That Chemical in Plastic Is Safe

October 22, 2008

Stop Eating BPA

Cans_3 Care2 10.14.08

Is it just me–or is it really maddening that we are pelted with industrial toxins and told by governmental regulating agencies that they are safe?

Canned foods are thought to be the predominate route of BPA exposure. Numerous studies support this fact, including an investigation of BPA exposures for 257 young children in North Carolina and Ohio day care centers.

Our Take: Most of us have heard about BPA leaching from some plastic bottles. But the primary source of BPA may be canned items – everything from tomato sauce to baby formula. This alarming fact has gotten buried in the frenzy over BPA in plastic bottles. Here are some great tips to reduce BPA exposure from all sources.  

Link: Stop Eating BPA

BPA Legislation Heats Up

CBC News 10.18.08 Wsj_2 

The federal government has decided to add bisphenol A to the country’s list of toxic substances and draft regulations that ban the sale in Canada of plastic baby bottles containing the chemical…

The Wall Street Journal Health Blog 10.14.08

There’s a bit more heat this week on bisphenol A, this time courtesy of attorneys general in Connecticut, New Jersey and Delaware. The AGs sent letters to 11 companies asking them to voluntarily stop putting the chemicals into baby bottles and formula.

Our Take:

Two big moves to ban BPA – Canada is a model for when government acts responsively and proactively in the interest of public safety. Fortunately, we’re seeing some great leadership on the part of Conneticut, New Jersey and Delaware. We hope it’s only the beginning of Americans taking matters into their own hands – politically and personally – to put health before profit.

Link: Canada moves to ban bisphenol A in baby bottles

Link: States Ask Companies to Stop Putting BPA in Baby Bottles

October 15, 2008

Plastic-Munching Bugs Turn Waste Bottles Into Cash

Plastic_bugs_2 CBC News 09.15.08

Newly discovered bacterial alchemists could help save billions of plastic bottles from landfills. The Pseudomonas strains can convert the low-grade PET plastic used in drinks bottles into a more valuable and biodegradable plastic called PHA…

"We wanted to see if we could turn the plastic into something of higher value in an environmentally friendly way," [Kevin O’Connor at University College Dublin, Ireleand] says.

Our Take: This interesting lab development will take years to perfect – who knows if it will ever be a viable technology, but we’re seeing more work trying to create organisms that will break down plastic…sounds kinda scary!

BTW, plastic bottles are being turned into cash right now – including many viable fabrics and textiles, like clothing, fiber fill, and bags made out of recycled PET (an innovation that we’ve been offering for years).

Link: Plastic-Munching Bugs Turn Waste Bottles Into Cash

September 17, 2008

Common chemical BPA under scrutiny as study links it to diabetes, cardiovascular disease

Bpatribune Chicago Tribune  09.17.08

Industry representatives and health advocates gave federal officials vastly different assessments Tuesday of the effects of exposure to a chemical so prevalent that it can be found in the system of almost every American.

Bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, is used extensively in the linings of food and drink containers, plus countless consumer products, including baby bottles and sippy cups. The chemical also has been found in drinking water, dental sealants and even household dust.

Our Take: Like a seesaw, BPA is declared safe one month and unsafe the next -- we’ve got to wonder whether our government agencies are giving us the straight story. While there might be confusion on their part, as consumers, our advice is to err on the side of caution -- just avoid the stuff.

Link: Common chemical BPA under scrutiny as study links it to diabetes, cardiovascular disease

Link: Video - Study questions health safety of common chemical

'Recycled' British plastic found dumped in India

Plastics & Rubber Weekly  09.10.08Prwlogo_4

Plastic packaging and bottles that consumers believe are going to local recycling plants are ending up buried in India, according to a UK news investigation.

[Reporter] Mark Jordan travelled to the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, and discovered wells of British-branded rubbish, estimated to be around 30 feet deep...Concerned locals told the investigation that there were at least ten such waste wells and that the pits also contained American waste.

Our Take: It’s an inconvenient truth that many items entering the recycling stream don’t get recycled. We’re seeing increasing evidence of recyclables getting burned or buried in landfills -- or shipped overseas. Recycling has its place in reducing waste -- but it’s no silver bullet (e.g., it doesn’t change consumption).

Want to learn more about why recycling doesn’t work for plastic bags? See our myth-busting article:Recycling Can Fix This, Right?

Link: 'Recycled' British plastic found dumped in India

September 11, 2008

Chemical in Plastic Is Connected to Health Problems in Monkeys

Wpost Washington Post  09.04.08

Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine have linked a chemical found in everyday plastics to problems with brain function and mood disorders in monkeys -- the first time the chemical has been connected to health problems in primates. "Our findings suggest that exposure to low-dose BPA may have widespread effects on brain structure and function," the authors wrote. In contrast to earlier research on rodents, the Yale researchers studied monkeys to better approximate the way BPA might affect humans.

Link: Chemical in Plastic Is Connected to Health Problems in Monkeys

September 10, 2008

Government questions plastic bottles' safety

Babybottle MSNBC.com  09.03.08

Government toxicologists have reiterated safety concerns about a chemical used in baby bottles and food containers, just weeks after the Food and Drug Administration declared the substance safe.

Link: Government questions plastic bottles' safety

Link: Video – Report questions plastic bottle safety

Concerns Linger over Safety of Chemical Used in Baby Bottles

Wsj_2 Wall Street Journal  09.03.08

Government experts on Wednesday released a final report on the safety of a chemical used in plastic baby bottles, saying they have "some concern" the chemical is linked to health and developmental problems. The FDA is holding a hearing on Sept. 16 to discuss BPA.

Link: Concerns linger over safety of che mical used in baby bottles

August 06, 2008

VIDEO CLIP: Plastics are Forever

The Cleanest Line - Patagonia, 08.05.08

Maui native Micah Wolf teams up with the Algalita Marine Research Foundation and photographer Ben Moon to create this powerful music video that empowers us to do something about the amount of plastics in our oceans.

July 17, 2008

Green with envy

Willamette Week, 04.16.08   Vcrollbacktree_willamette_week

Portlanders drive an average of three fewer miles a day than the average American Joe. We have more certified green buildings per capita than any other U.S. city. Time to kick back with an organic IPA and watch the clouds go by, right? Hardly. Wake up, Portland. We’re slipping. Sometime between Gov. Tom McCall’s speeches and Al Gore’s Nobel Prize, Portland ceded the green crown.

Link: Green with envy 

June 25, 2008

US mayors vote to phase out bottled water consumption

International Herald Tribune, 06.23.08 Iht_logo 

Making international news on Monday, 250 US mayors voted to put an end to using taxpayer money to purchase bottled water for its employees and functions. This is bad news for the likes of Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc., who have enjoyed a steady increase in sales the last few years. Bottled water requires vast amounts of petroleum to produce—both in the manufacturing of the bottles and in the shipping process.

Our Take: Well done US mayors! While critics of the resolution call it “sound-bite environmentalism”, we say it’s leading by example. Encouraging employees and in so doing, citizens, to drink tap water (which is held to higher standards than bottled water) is a great step toward changing the minds of the masses. We think Gigi Kellett from Corporate Accountability International said it best: “It’s just plain common sense for cities to stop padding the bottled water industry’s bottom line at taxpayer expenses.” What do you think?

Link: US mayors vote to phase out bottled water consumption 

June 24, 2008

A little more junk in the water

National Post, 06.02.08 Junk_raft

In a unique take on raising awareness of the dramatic rise of plastics in our oceans, Dr. Marcus Eriksen and Joel Paschal are in the midst of an intense sailing expedition. Their vessel? A raft made from 15,000 plastic bottles, 5,000 plastic bags and a cockpit from an old Cessna airplane. The Algalita Marine Research Foundation hopes the “Junk Raft" will get people to pay attention to the tragedy of the increasing amount of discarded plastic in our oceans; plastic like toothbrushes and cigarette lighters that are choked on by sea birds and microscopic particles that are consumed by fish.

Link: A little more junk in the water 

Check out the blog: Junk Raft Blog

Venice urges tourists to drink from fountains

Reuters, 06.03.08 Venice_reuters

Tourists will be given an empty water bottle with the message "Don't throw me away, re-use me!" and a map indicating the 122 fountains flowing with water from the city's aqueducts, inviting them to quench their thirst directly from the source.

Link: Venice urges tourists to drink from fountains 

Baby bottles safe, FDA official says

Baltimore Sun, 06.11.08

In a response to the BPA controversy, the FDA announced recently that parents should not be concerned about safety in regards to the use of the chemical bisphenol-A in their children’s baby bottles. Claiming the concerns raised recently were based on uncorroborated evidence, conflicting results and research done on rats, the officials defended the use of BPA and phthalates.

Our Take: Yikes. In this shockingly irresponsible (and much delayed) response, the FDA continues to erode its “brand” and public trust. Sounds like ass-covering and siding with industry. The old US standard of having to prove a substance is unsafe before it is pulled from the market is alive and well. As much as the government may wish, we have a feeling this isn’t over. What do you think?

Link: Baby bottles safe, FDA official says 

May 23, 2008

Bottled Water Paradox: Banned, and Required

New York Times 05.14.08 - thanks to watertrust.org for the heads up on this one!

After two years of extremely heated debate that included references to ecology, history, geography, and the politics of selling or buying mass-produced cupcakes, the Park Slope Food Co-op in Brooklyn voted at the end of last month to discontinue the sale of bottled water. Just as the co-op (membership: 13,966) has been selling its last few ounces of designer water, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital is very quietly going into its third year with signs posted over every sink in one of its newest buildings that say: “Do not drink the water. Use bottled water for drinking, brushing teeth, or taking medication.”

So at one end of town they have banished tap water; 18 miles away, they’ve banned bottled water.

Link: Bottled Water Paradox: Banned, and Required 

April 25, 2008

Bottle Maker To Stop Using Plastic Linked To Health Concerns

New York Times 04.18.08Nytimesnalgene

Nalgene, the brand that popularized water bottles made from hard, clear and nearly unbreakable polycarbonate, will stop using the plastic because of growing concern over one of its ingredients.

Link: Bottle Maker To Stop Using Plastic Linked To Health Concerns

US Senator To Propose Ban On Bisphenol A

ICIS (International Chemical Information Service) 04.23.08

Icisbabybottle US Senator Chuck Schumer (Democrat-New York) will propose legislation banning the sale of children’s products and food containers containing bisphenol A (BPA), possibly before the end of the week, the legislator’s office said on Wednesday. As justification for the ban, the senator cited the National Toxicology Program’s draft report, published on 14 April.

Link: US Senator To Propose Ban On Bisphenol A

Canada Says Chemical In Hard Plastic Bottles May Be Unsafe

Associated Press 04.19.08
An ubiquitous chemical found in hard plastic water bottles, DVDs, CDs and hundreds of other common items came under increased pressure Friday when Canada said it's potentially harmful and may ban its use in baby bottles. Health Canada made the announcement shortly after a U.S. company said it would stop selling hard-plastic Nalgene water bottles made with bisphenol A because of growing consumer concern over whether the chemical poses a health risk.

Link: Canada Says Chemical In Hard Plastic Bottles May Be Unsafe