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Waste and re-use - Nov 5

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Bottled water’s environmental backlash

Sandy Bauers, Philadelphia Inquirer
Bottled water, once an icon of a healthy lifestyle, has become a pariah, the environmentally incorrect humvee of beverages.

In recent months, dissent over the once innocuous bottle of Aquafina or Dasani has grown from a trickle to a tsunami.

Not just among enviros who decry the 1.5 million barrels of oil used to make a year's worth of bottles. (Plus more to transport it from, in the case of Tasmanian Rain, the end of the earth.)

Not just among pragmatists who cringe at the absurdity of paying $1.50 for bottled when tap is all but free - a fraction of a cent per gallon in Philadelphia.

Dreamalee Brotz, a special-education teacher at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, only had to look at her family's water bottles piling up in the recycling bin to reconsider what on earth she was doing.

She bought a refillable Nalgene bottle - the new icon of a healthy and an environmentally correct lifestyle.

"I feel better about myself, and I'm saving money."
(3 November 2007)

Rain barrels and rain runoff

Tracy Samilton, Environmental Report
One city is asking people to use rain barrels like this one to prevent rain runoff that can overload drains and creeks. (Photo courtesy of the Huron River Watershed Council)
As cities cover more and more surface with pavement and buildings, it's taking a toll on the environment. Heavy rains flood off the impervious surfaces and overload drains and creeks. Some cities are trying new methods to control the problem. As Tracy Samilton reports, Ann Arbor, Michigan is asking its residents to play a role by catching their home's rainwater in rain barrels:
(5 November 2007)

Buddhist Dumpster Diving

Kyle Norris, Environmental Report
Every fall, a group of Buddhists go dumpster diving. They're looking for things to sell at their benefit yard sale. But sifting through the trash is also a way for these Buddhists to practice their spiritual beliefs. Kyle Norris recently accompanied several Buddhists on a dumpster diving excursion:
(5 November 2007)

The plastic fantastic recycling trap

Chris Turner, The Ottawa Citizen
It's the underlying assumption of modern design: Everything made by human hands will eventually outlive its worth.

Consider, for example, the Swiffer. By almost every existing measure, it's better than mop, broom and dustpan.

In fact, each single-use cloth is all but indestructible and no recycling program on the planet is equipped to deal with it.

Point being: It's not the fault of the Swiffer, the failure is in the design structure of this fossil-fuelled age.
(5 November 2007)

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