Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Number seven

So, this is an empty bottle of Arizona iced tea (sorry, the home page is Flash. I really wish people wouldn't have their home page in flash.) I bought three of them, and this is the last. This isn't a returnable bottle. Iced tea has no carbonation, so no deposit/return is required. That's the way it is. But it is plastic, and therefore can be recycled. So, i flipped the bottle over to discover a number 7 in the triangle. It's very hard to see. I tried, but could not get a photo of it. The camera refused to focus on it. There's not much contrast. The raised triangle and number are not raised very high and the plastic is translucent, so even lighting it from a slant angle produced no defined shadows to help in reading it. All this to say, it's not very easy to read.

In truth, if i'd known that it was number seven, i would not have bought it. There are two reasons. From a convenience point of view, my curb side recycling only accepts number 1 plastic and number 2 plastic. So, i must go quite a ways out of my way to recycle number 7 plastic. But the other reason is more interesting. Number 7 plastic has a rather perverse history. The material was originally an attempt at making artificial female hormones, like estrogen. It has been said that you should not refill plastic water bottles because it's unsafe. IMO, if it is unsafe to refill, then it's unsafe to use for food in the first place. I'd like to see the material banned, certainly for food, but probably for everything. After all, if the material makes it to landfill, then it's likely to leach stuff we'd rather not have leached into the environment. Short of banning it, it'd be real nice if Arizona, and other companies would simply stop using it. After all, the stuff is potentially nasty, and what company needs to have a public relations issue on their hands. And if a company like Arizona doesn't do their own local bottling, then they should put the ban into their contracts with their bottling partners.

I'm not particularly worried about the effects of estrogen-like compounds in my own body. I'm an adult. But my kid's development could be affected. What, if any, long term research has been done? Leave a comment if you know anything.