Solution Proposal Dejong

I found this part of my paper to be particularly interesting: Learning about the different solutions that others have played around with and have tried to get passed.

This part was surprisingly difficult: The length of the paper, I feel like I had alot of detail and elaborated well, also I felt I had ablot of information but somehow still fell short of the requested length.

Next time I would do this differently:Start my paper earlier, figure out a way to make it longer, maybe more real world examples like other campuses and places that are banning water bottles all together.

Biodegradable Water Bottles: The Key to a Promising Eco-Friendly Future

The pollution of plastic is one of the major environmental crisis's the earth faces today. It may not seem as if this were true, due to many other events happening around the world, but, the statistics including: the amount of nonrenewable resources wasted, the amount of oil used to generate the plastic, the waste created by the mere 13 percent of bottles being recycled, the obscene carbon dioxide use and the effects on wildlife and the oceans seems to prove differently. These are solely dealing with the environment, they don't even point out the harmful effects this can have on ones health while effecting every other person on this earth along with our kids and younger generations to come.

And, while the ideal solution would be to ban bottled water all together and replace them with refillable water bottles, that is unrealistic. Because the main cause of why people choose bottled water over using refillable bottles with tap water is convenience people will not stop. Along with convenience, people in this day and age do not feel that the environmental harm bottled water is the most urgent problem to take care of right now. The sense of urgency is not present so nothing major would change. Some may be persuaded to switch over to tap water, but with bottled water companies basically leading in sales in the beverage industry and tripling in the past 10 years, this solution would be a very far reach (Olson). Other solutions that have been explored include the promotion of tap water supplies, like in Minneapolis, the taxing of bottle water, like in Chicago and the expansion of "Bottle Bills," like in the state of New York (Godwin). While these are great ideas and in the ideal world may be the right solution, in today's world it is not. These ideas may help a little and in fact did slow U.S. bottled water sales in 2007, but "slowing," down is not good enough. Especially with the major impact bottled water has on the environment, a different solution is in need. So, now we look at instead of banning a very popular product a better solution would be to target and change the material that is causing so much harm. If we cannot get rid of plastic bottles why not make them more sustainable? This is just a start to this considerable problem, but it is a solution that has the potential to have major positive impact on the environment and preserve some very vital resources of the earth.

As reported by Earth Policy Institute (EPI), worldwide, for packaging, the $22-billion-a-year bottled water industry uses some 2.7 million tons or 2.4 million metric tons of plastic, requiring more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, which is even enough to fuel around 100,000 U.S. cars for a year (Owen). This is unheard of considering that there are many easy solutions if only people would take the time to be informed about. Currently, the plastic most commonly used in plastic water bottles is polyethylene terephthalate, also known as PET. This is a petroleum-based plastic that is derived from crude oil and natural gas (Owen). Not only are there limited and diminishing reserves of these two fossil fuels, but they also take millions of years to regenerate (Personal Life Media). When these traditional plastic water bottles, made with this substance, enters a landfill can take thousands of years and that is if it ever breaks down (ENSO). This clearly environmentally has an immense impact. And according to ENSO Plastics, "In order for plastics to properly break down, tiny microscopic organisms must find the discarded products an irresistible morsel, and begin consuming it bite by bite. Only then, can the item be broken down entirely. Traditional plastics are unattractive to microbes and therefore inedible." If and when this substance begins to degrade, it also releases a variety of chemicals including Acetaldehyde, or better known as ethanol (Karr). As defined by Karr, plastic is essentially a porous material. This means that some of the chemicals contained in the plastic leach out into the liquid. And, this only means that if the chemicals are leaching into the liquid, the chemicals are also leaching into the body of the consumers. Interestingly, also it is found that although there are regulatory standards limiting phthalates in tap water, there are no legal limits for phthalates in bottled water. The bottled water industry waged a successful campaign opposing the FDA proposal to set a legal limit for these chemicals (NRDC). This makes it extremely difficult for the public to determine what is safe and what is not, and there is no exact answer. According to two recent reports, while municipal water utilities, the organization responsible for clean tap water, are required to provide public reports of test results, bottled-water makers are not (Stinchfield). This also backs up another study that makes the point that about 22 percent of the brands of bottled water tested contained, in at least one sample, chemical contaminants at levels above strict state health limits. If these are consumed over a long period of time, some of these contaminants could cause health problems and even cancer (NRDC).

The list just starts here with the negative impact bottled water has on the earth. One external cost is the waste created by plastic water bottles. Yes, most bottled water comes in recyclable PET plastic bottles, but only about 13 percent of the bottles we use get recycled. In 2005, 2 million tons of plastic water bottles ended up clogging landfills instead of getting recycled (NRDC). So, with about only 1 out of 5 plastic water bottles being recycled, this is contributing to the 3 billion pounds (1,500,000 tons) of plastic bottle waste per year (Tam). And with so many bottles not being recycled, this causes the issue of litter as well. Another external cost is the tons of carbon dioxide used in the process. With the estimated 1,500,000 tons of plastic waste, that’s 4,500,000 tons of carbon dioxide. Tying in with the use of energy costs, this would equal the energy consumption of 900,000 homes (Tam). From using large amounts of carbon dioxide, it also poses a considerable threat to the ozone. Another overlooked cost includes the harm that the plastic has on the ocean and all the living species within it. When bottles enter the ocean animals consume them and all the toxins that are included in the plastic, which is extremely harmful. After ingesting the waste the animals most likely will die, end up washing up on land, and now humans are now exposed to the toxins due to the fact that "plastic debris in the environment can take between 400 and 1,000 years to degrade" (Owen). It has been estimated that over a million sea-birds and one hundred thousand marine mammals and sea turtles are killed each year by ingestion of plastics or entanglement, according to Greenpeace (Tam).

The questioned now asked is, if the plastic being used now is so harmful, what else would we use? Primo water. Primo Water Corporation is a private company based out of Winston-Salem, North Carolina that is unlike regular PET plastic water bottles and is in fact proven to be very environmentally friendly. Compared to the thousand years it takes to degrade PET, the plastic used in Primo water, Ingeo™, can be put to a commercial compost facility and degrade in only 45 days. In fact, Ingeo™ has been proven to have more end-of-life options than any other plastic material (The Ingeo Journey). This is because Ingeo™ natural plastic, the world's first and only plastic made from one hundred percent annually renewable resources (Personal Life Media). Ingeo™ , created by Nature Works LLC, is a rare material that instead of being made from oil is made from plants. Currently, the company uses plant sugars from field corn as the source for the material, but this doesn't mean it only requires corn as a source. Ingeo™ only needs a sugar source which could also be from sugar cane, wheat or sugar beets (The Ingeo Journey). Corn is just what they are currently choosing to use. But not only does Ingeo™ use less fossil fuels and instead renewable resources to produce this material, it also presents the benefit of reduction in green house gas emissions. With multiple studies done, including a peer reviewed research conducted in 2008 and a head-to-head life cycle comparison completed by The Institute for Energy Environmental Research (IEFU) in Heidelberg, Germany, results showed that compared to PET, Ingeo™ generated 59 percent less green house gas emissions along with using 47 percent less non-renewable energy (The Ingeo Journey). The benefits do not stop here, because of the reduction in green house gas emissions, this leads into other issues like climate change and global warming, including our carbon footprint, along with lowering our dependence on oil and a significant reduction of waste (The Ingeo Journey). With Primo Water Corporations use of Ingeo™ natural plastic, consumers will not only be satisfied with its benefits on the environment. In September and December 2007, a blind taste test was conducted in Charlotte, Boston, Dallas, Tampa, Los Angeles and Columbus by an independent contractor, Marketing Connections. These results, in fact, showed that three out of four consumers preferred Primo over the most popular spring water and four out of five consumers preferred Primo over tap water (Personal Life Media). So the taste will not be a worry to consumers. Along with taste, Ingeo™ natural plastic has great versatility being easy to shape, mold, emboss and print (The Ingeo Journey). Resembling your typical PET water bottle, Ingeo™ is very durable and has good stiffness properties and good form with a lower density making the packages lighter than PET. With that, it also is transparent, has lots of clarity and excellent gloss so it looks almost identical to PET.

With all of this information it is important to point out the three major benefits of this solution. First, think about yourself. Everyone knows that the consumption of water is an important component of living a healthy lifestyle. With Primo water as an attainable solution, it would not only provide you with consistently great tasting water, but it would also provide everyday price values, enormous availability and it would play into the number one factor as to why people choose bottled water over tap water, it would still be extremely convenient. At the same time you would get the satisfaction of helping conserve two very cherished resources. As stated by Billy Prim, CEO of Primo Water Corporation, "Primo also helps consumers to leave a better world for their children," (Personal Life Media). So with it not only benefiting yourself it would also benefit everyone else on this planet including younger generations. This is the second major benefit with the third being how environmentally friendly it is and that many of the negative effects that are currently happening would be put to an end.

With all the information presented, it is clear that the crisis of bottled water, specifically the plastic used, is something that needs to be addressed and changed. With all of the negative effects it is causing not only on the environment, but to our health and the health of younger generations to come as well. And while banning bottled water all together would be the ideal plan, in today's day and age it is not likely to occur. With that, Primo water, with the use of Ingeo™ natural plastic, proposes a great solution, that is something to take into consideration. And while Ingeo™ has focused on creating "natural" plastic, they also have created a "natural" fiber, allowing the production of environmental friendly products all the way from clothes to house ware items. It is only just a start, but in a short time could have a considerable positive impact. With Primo water and the utilization of Ingeo™ natural plastic, not only having less of an impact on the environment, the costs to produce this product would be remarkably lower. While providing a pure and refreshing taste along with knowing that it is also benefiting the place we call home. There is no reason as we should not give this new product the opportunity to save our planet.

SOURCES

  • Olson, Eric D.. "Bottled Water: Pure Drink or Pure Hype?." NRDC. Natural Resource Defense Council, 15 Jul 2013. Web. 14 Apr 2014.

<http://www.nrdc.org/water/drinking/bw/exesum.asp>.

  • Godwin, Courtney. "Bottled Water Alternatives." RPN. Responsible Purchasing Network, 26 Aug 2008. Web. 14 Apr 2014.
  • Owen, J. "Bottled Water Isn't Healthier Than Tap, Report Reveals." National Geographics. 24 Feb 2006: n. page. Print.
  • Baumgartner, M.. "Study: Bottled Water No Safer Than Tap Water." abcnews.com. ABCNews. Web. 10 Feb 2014.
  • Tam , Stephanie. "Bottled Water: Why It’s Bad for You, the Environment, and Water – Part II." Hydrate Life, 18 Oct 2012. Web. 3 Mar 2014.
  • Karr, Laura Jean. "Going Green: Get Rid of Plastic Bottles." Bright Hub. N.p., 06 Feb 2010. Web. 6 Mar 2014.
  • Stinchfield, Kate. "Is Your Bottled Water Safe." cnn.com. CNN, 13 Jul 2009. Web. 10 Feb 2014.
  • "Why ENSO Biodegradable Plastics." Why ENSO Biodegradable Plastics. ENSO Plastics, 1 Jan. 2011. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.

<http://www.ensoplastics.com/Why/Why-ENSO-Plastics.html>.

  • "Environmentally-Friendly Bottled Water: Innovative Single-Serve Bottles Made from Plants, Not Crude Oil." Personal Life Media. Personal Life Media, n.d. Web. 14 Apr 2014. <http://podcasts.personallifemedia.com/>.
  • "The Ingeo Journey." The Ingeo Journey. Nature Works LLC, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

<http://www.natureworksllc.com/The-Ingeo-Journey>.

Solution Proposal Peer Review Kayla DeJong

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