James Rus­sell El­e­ment ed­i­tor

Element - - NEWS -

Aweek ago three bot­tles of Kiwi Blue ‘Still Spring Water’ ar­rived at the El­e­ment of­fice en­cased in a brown pa­per bag tied with twine.

The lat­est in­no­va­tion from the Coca Cola com­pany, the water is con­tained by its flimsy new ‘Eco Twist’ bot­tle: a thin-skinned (25% less plas­tic) model, which the com­pany in­structs con­sumers to ‘twist for good’ into a frac­tion of its orig­i­nal size when con­sumed. The idea is that the bot­tle takes up far less space in your re­cy­cling bin.

Con­ster­na­tion among our ranks en­sued. “It’s now more ‘sin­gle-use’ than ever!” said one, who, though pas­sion­ately op­posed to dis­pos­able plas­tic bot­tles of any kind, nev­er­the­less ap­pre­ci­ates that their rigid­ity al­lows peo­ple to re-use them ex­ten­sively.

“What was wrong with the glass bot­tles, and the few cents the kids got for re­turn­ing them?” asked an­other, a nos­tal­gic mist cloud­ing his eye.

“If Coke put its might be­hind plant-based plas­tics and the tech­nol­ogy to prop­erly com­post them, it would be a vi­able op­tion for all bev­er­age mak­ers in New Zealand,” opined yet an­other.

All good ar­gu­ments. The truth is al­most 15,000 tonnes of plas­tic bot­tles end up in land­fill, with the same amount shipped to China for re­cy­cling, which means, in fact, down­cy­cling, into prod­ucts which also fin­ish up in the dump. An un­for­give­able amount end up in our har­bours.

If it was a school report we were writ­ing, ‘Eas­ily dis­tracted’ and ‘Must try harder’ would be the con­clu­sion.

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