Saturday, January 22, 2011

Get Off The Bottle!

Bottled Water...many of us use it everyday. But all of us know that not only are the bottles one of the most prolific forms of plastic pollution on the planet, the water is no better for you than most tap water, it is expensive, and there is fear of chemical leaching from some types of bottles.

As we travel, staying hydrated is very important. To solve the problem of using and disposing of plastic bottles, we decided on a very simple and cost effective solution. First we purchased a Britta Filter Dispenser that fit in our fridge. Next we visited REI and bought two stainless steel reusable water bottles that have a very nice resealable drinking nozzle. Every morning before we hit the road we fill our bottles and refill the dispenser so that we will have plenty of water for the day.

At the average price of about 25 cents a bottle, and the average consumption of 3-4 bottles a day per person, we will pay for our investment in about 40 days. Even with the cost of new filters, this will still keep the cost of water way below the plastic bottled kind and none of our bottles will end up in a landfill. Preserve has instituted a recylcing program for used filters and Whole Foods among others now has a drop-off for used filters in their stores.

We urge everyone to look for a solution to their bottled water consumption. If you don't feel guilty, you should!

For more information on bottled water visit:

5 Reasons Not to Drink Bottled Water

Get Off The Bottle!

And for a little fun:

Don't Go Near The Water!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Plastic Into Oil-Update!

In July of 2009, we reported on the technology we found in Oregon that was able to convert recycled plastics into oil(Our Visit to Agri-Plas). My good friend Ed recently made us aware of some new technology coming out of Japan that makes this process possible on a micro-scale that could eventually be available to everyone (Man Invents Machine To Convert Plastic Into Oil).

According to the developer, "The machine produced in various sizes, for both industrial and home uses, can easily transform a kilogram of plastic waste into a liter of oil, using about 1 kW·h of electricity but without emitting CO2 in the process. The machine uses a temperature controlling electric heater instead of flames, processing anything from polyethylene or polystyrene to polypropylene (numbers 2-4). 1 kg of plastic produces one liter of oil, which costs $1.50. This process uses only about 1 kW·h of electricity, which costs less than 20 cents!"

The potential for this is huge. Imagine a world where many homes are equipped with this machine, and apartment dwellers or neighborhoods share a machine together. The resulting oil could then be returned to collection centers where it can be reused in the production of hundreds of petroleum based products including plastics that could then be recycled again and again. The potential reduction in CO2 emissions is remarkable and much of the waste that currently ends up in a landfill or the ocean could be eliminated. In Third World countries where plastic waste frequently ends up directly in the environment as the means for disposing of waste are not always readily available, the plastic waste could be converted directly into oil used for heating and cooking or kerosene for light.

This new machine is compact, can be easily transported, and the technology appears to be relatively simple. Combined with the advances that are being made in plastic materials that are not made from petroleum (Bio-Plastics, Biodegradable Plastics Made From Plants) , there is hope!