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For those of you who choose to read this blog, I offer you a word of caution. If you think that the world is full of magnanimous do gooders, do not know what the word magnanimous means, or cannot otherwise handle the evident truth.

DO NOT READ ON.

This blog seeks to expose the underlying flaws of our society. This blog is a forum for all those who are dissatisfied with the social climate of this great nation. This blog will be a watershed for a much larger, much more global quest for change.

My name is unimportant and for the most part irrelevant. The themes discussed within this forum are universal and applicable to all, events chronicled are relevant to anyone who drinks water, breathes air, and experiences frustration. If any of these three things do not apply to you, I suggest you seek immediate medical attention.

Thank you.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Evils of Poland Spring

Poland “Silent” Spring

In September of 2007, the Poland Spring Bottled Water Company introduced its new “Eco-Shape Bottle”. Poland Spring claims that the new cap is “100% Recyclable” and that the body of the bottle is made up of 30% less plastic than the average half-liter bottle.

Such claims are misinformed at best.

Plastic recycling, especially for those with Resin Identification Number of 1 or 2, involves the process of recovering scrap or waste plastics and reprocessing the material into useful products. This could mean melting down polyester soft drink bottles then spinning the polymer into fibers.

From The Second Law of Thermodynamics we know that “mechanical work can be derived from a body only when that body interacts with another at a lower temperature; any spontaneous process results in an increase of entropy”. In a nutshell, the Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us that, there is an “energy toll” to any spontaneous process. It seems that “Envi-Sci Braintrust” at Poland Spring forgot that in the waste hierarchy of prevent-reduce-reuse-recycle-energy recovery-disposal, that recycle is worse than prevent, reduce, and reuse, three easily achieved goals.

By extension, this means that if we wanted to do anything in the way of recycling plastic, we must first pay an “energy toll”, and since the Law of Conservation of Mass tells us that we will not be creating any matter, we are essentially paying an energy toll to recover material that should not have been in the solid-waste stream in the first place.

It would be a naïve of us to think that such an egregious error was the product of underdeveloped thought. Rather, there is evidence of some foul-play. Poland Spring seems to have embarked on its new “eco-friendly” campaign after receiving harsh criticisms for its other products. Launched in March of 2007, the new “Safe-Twist Bottle”, allegedly designed with the safety of children in mind, certainly did not have the safety of the children’s Earth in mind. The caps of the “Safe-Twist Bottle” are not only irremovable, but made up of a hard plastic with a Resin Identification Number closer to 2 than 1. This boils down to a Racamier Paradox, a "mental formation that indissolubly binds two propositions or directives that are irreconcilable and yet not contradictory" -- while the recycling processes for the bottle and the cap itself are completely different Poland Spring has made the two inseparable, joined like biracial Siamese twins.

The flaws of the Paradox extend further; the hard plastic cap is both too large and too hard to be crushed by most industrial-sized recyclers. An attempt to recycle the bottle would at best jam the machine and take it out service for a set amount of time, at worst, it would cause spontaneous combustion within the reactor phase of the recycling process. The recycling machine would try too hard too crush the uncrushable bottle, and since the cap is removable air pressure builds within the bottle, once the machine finally tries too hard to crush it, either by increasing the temperature of the system, or simply by adding more power, the bottle would spontaneously combust within the machine, destroying both the machine and tons of recycled material.

Poland Spring’s claim that by using 30% less plastic, it would reduce its toll on the environment—this claim seems to make too much sense. Reduce is higher than recycle in the Waste Hierarchy; why waste and recycle when you can reduce? There is however, one instance where putting in extra plastic serves a benefit, when it reduces the amount of “Plastic Leaching” generated by the water bottle. Because more plastic content means greater structural integrity for the water bottle, the bottle is less likely to “leach chemicals” when there is more plastic in the bottle. Dr. Vreni Gurd of the Chek Institute had this to say about chemical leaching:

Plastic water bottles are very convenient for carting water around when we are on the go, as they don't break if we drop them. However, it is worth paying attention to the type of plastic your water bottle is made of, to ensure that the chemicals in the plastic do not leach into the water. If you taste plastic, you are drinking it, so get yourself another bottle.To be certain that you are choosing a bottle that does not leach, check the recycling symbol on your bottle. If it is a #2 HDPE (high density polyethylene), or a #4 LDPE (low density polyethylene), or a #5 PP (polypropylene), your bottle is fine. The type of plastic bottle in which water is usually sold is usually a #1, and is only recommended for one time use. Do not refill it. Better to use a reusable water bottle, and fill it with your own filtered water from home and keep these single-use bottles out of the landfill.

Bisphenol A is a xenoestrogen, a known endocrine disruptor, meaning it disturbs the hormonal messaging in our bodies. Synthetic xenoestrogens are linked to breast cancer and uterine cancer in women, decreased testosterone levels in men, and are particularly devastating to babies and young children. BPA has even been linked to insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes.

Nor is this the first time the Poland Spring Bottled Water Company has lied. A subsidiary of Nestle, the Poland Spring Bottled Water Company has not been drawing its water “pure, refreshing taste” from Poland Spring, Maine; for many years now, the water that Poland Spring claims to be from “carefully selected natural springs in Maine”, has in fact been bottled in Stamford, Connecticut.

Poland Spring, does in some part, dig its own grave. In its own published studied, they reported the presence of 82 different organic compounds found within their water. In contrast the US EPA Journal reported they had detected at the Love Canal Industrial Dump traces of 82 different compounds, 11 of them suspected carcinogens.

Coincidence? I think not.


**Disclaimer** This exposé is academic in nature and not published with the intent to hurt the revenue, profits, or earnings of Nestle Waters, its subsidiaries, or its employees, anymore than their malpractices have hurt the health, well-being, and quality of life for the citizens of the United States of America.

6 comments:

ken said...

Very well written article!
Thanks for your effort...I stand much more informed than before.

Organic Nomad said...

I am glad you are getting the word out. Thank you.
Evan Jerkunica

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info!

Anonymous said...

what a load.....I drink poland spring every day and I am fine.

Anonymous said...

I decided to try alternating and the reuse of 2 "easy pour 101.4 fl. oz bottles for a bout a month or less...I noticed that a slightly rust-color to the inner surface of the bottle at the bottom had developed.
Mold? Chemical leaching? Anyway, I'm glad to read that they're meant to be single-time use, I hope I haven't poisoned myself somehow.
I'll have to find some other container. Got any recommendations?

Anonymous said...

I am not a fan of drinking poisons, but some of your comments are pretty dubious or just illogicial. A company that is corporately headquarterd in Stamford Connecticutt does not necesarily mean it pumps its water out of the ground in Stamford, CT. And the 82 compounds at Love canal still has no correlation to the 82 compounds in Poland Spring water. Does traces of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphate, zinc etc... count as a one of the 82 trace compounds? It was easy to breeze through this post due to all the holes in it.