The Great Plastic Challenge, Week #2

(Week #1 of the Great Plastic Elimination Challenge is here, Week #3 is here.)

We basically live in a desert. Even in the winter (or especially in the winter), the air is arid and it’s possible to get dehydrated quickly. And our house is old, with lead solder in places, if not lead pipes. Los Angeles tap water, while rated ok for taste, is upping its fluoridation levels and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Therefore, we consume a lot of spring water. Unfortunately much of it comes in plastic PET bottles. In addition to possibly leaching phthalates into the water consumed, the bottles clog up landfills for a thousand years. We recycle them assiduously, but I have my suspicions about city recycling programs…and if we can reduce or stop our reliance on water bottles, why not?

So I’m seeking an alternative that’s inexpensive, can be used by my son, and has a reasonable carbon footprint in manufacture.

Here are two options I found: the SIGG bottle, and the “corntainer.”

The SIGG bottle: is an entire piece of aluminum with a food-grade layer bonded to the interior to protect against absorption of aluminum and to deter bacteria from growing. It’s costly–anywhere from $13-18. But it looks well-made. (And btw, the flash animation on the official SIGG USA website is hella creepy! What’s with the weird heads?)

The “corntainer”: looks just like a PET bottle. Some have filters inside. It can be reused many times but should ultimately be thrown away. Supposedly it can be composted.

The corntainer sounds great–biodegradable and made from something we have lots of (perhaps too much of…the question of whether we need to subsidize GMO corn and agribusiness is another, vast question). However, it might not be as compostable as advertised, because it degrades at 140 degrees, which commerical composts can achieve but most residential composts cannot. This smithsonian article discusses the merits of PLA in depth.

The other thing is that the “corntainer” will melt if it gets hot in your car. my car is littered with water bottles already. The boy and I get thirsty driving around. Given that we live in southern California and the car turns into an oven in the summertime, I just know I’ll end up with a mess all over the car seats and in the cupholders if we use the “corntainer” bottles.

I think we’ll invest in a SIGG bottle for me and the boy, and do a lead test on our water. If our tap water is okay, we’ll get a better filter and fill our SIGG bottles with tap water. If it’s not okay, we’ll continue buying spring water but buy it in the large containers and recycle those. But in any case, we’ll stop buying the individual PET bottles of spring water.

Geez, 0 for 2 in this plastic challenge! Again, imperfect results, but at least we’re trying.

Next week, I’m going to try to eliminate altogether the millions of little plastic ziplock snack bags we pack in the Unreliable Narrator’s lunchbox.

3 thoughts on “The Great Plastic Challenge, Week #2

  1. Hi. I use a Klean Kanteen, which is made of stainless steel rather than aluminum. Just another option.

    And I agree with you about the corntainer. I am stearing clear of pretty much anything made from corn these days because of the GMO issues as well as how heavily it’s subsidized and the amount of chemical fertilizers and pesticides go into growing it. I think corn is good as a last resort before petro-plastic, but that’s not saying much.

  2. Pingback: The Great Plastic Challenge: Week #1 « P i l l o w b o o k

  3. Pingback: The Great Plastic Challenge, Week #3 « P i l l o w b o o k

  4. I love my Sigg bottle. It is light weight and the water tastes, well, exactly like water!!

    I, too, am looking for ways to eliminate the plastic bags. What did our mothers do? I think she wrapped my sandwich in wax paper. And at the deli, they wrapped in brown paper. I wonder where we can buy deli paper?

    Does anyone know if the “wax” on regular Reynolds wax paper is really wax or is it a petroleum product?

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