Writing from the nation's capital, this blog explores technology, telecommunications, national security, policy, and their impact on people, with an occasional rant.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Plastic Bottles: they're ok because you can recycle them, right?

How many drinks to you consume in single-use plastic bottles each week?  Five, 10, more?  If you're concerned about eating healthy, maybe you drink bottled water.  But its ok because plastic can be recycled... right?  If you think this way, you might think again.

Plastic shopping bags aren't the only plastic you should think twice about.  Plastic bottles and food containers generally can't be recycled for other food uses. (Glass can) But most of those bottles probably won't ever be recycled.  They will end up in a land fill or in the river and eventually in the ocean.  You've heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, haven't you?  Well all that plastic will stick around for years and years and years.  Though it may break into smaller bits, it never goes away.  It just becomes food for fish, birds, more birds, and even jellyfish. Eventually tiny bits may be eaten by plankton, and start working their way back up the food chain.

Watch a 4 minute TED talk by Dianna Cohen, co-founded the Plastic Pollution Coalition, to learn more about how each single-use plastic bottle you use impacts the environment.  You might think differently about a bottle of soda or water. (the talk has a 1 min Rolex commercial at the end)