Monday, July 26, 2010

Thinking outside of the bottle

Posted By on Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 1:31 PM

A Huntersville inventor has found a way to help us save energy and plastic.

Clearwater Manufacturing has created a mini-water-bottling machine no larger than a hotel icemaker. It sanitizes, fills and caps glass and aluminum bottles of water on site for immediate sale and consumption.

The company plans to lease or sell the machine to universities, hospitals, military bases, companies, theme parks and cruise lines.

Called the Boomerang Water Bottling System, it produces six bottles a minute of highly purified water. That's up to 2,800 bottles a day.

"Producing the bottled water in-house eliminates the need for trucks to deliver water, thereby eliminating vehicle emissions," said Colin Van Rooyen, Clearwater's chief operating officer, who calls the machine a "win-win-win."

"The environment wins by eliminating landfill contribution and reducing CO {-2} emissions by 95percent after the first return," he said. "The consumer wins with a convenient, sustainable bottled water product, and the Boomerang machine owner wins with higher profits."

Read the rest of this Charlotte Observer article here.

In addition to controversies about chemicals leeching out of plastic and into our drinks, food and waterways, water bottles are also controversial because they're made from petroleum products. More than that, not everyone recycles them ... even though it's illegal to throw most of them away in North Carolina.

This, my friends, is a problem. Not because the recycling police are coming for you, but because our mass consumption of plastic is one more way our society demands oil from foreign suppliers. Also, we're sacrificing our health and the environment for our convenience and the idea that we should have a brand-new bottle every time we're thirsty. That's not cool.

It's simple to be part of the solution, though. One of the easiest ways for you to reduce your demand for petroleum is to use a reusable metal water bottle or a reusable glass. Using bio-degradable, non-petroleum based plastics (like those made from corn or hemp) are another option. And when you do choose plastic, always recycle.

P.S. When you buy water in plastic bottles, you're most likely getting tap water anyway. So you might as well use the water from your own faucet.

Here's a snippet from the documentary "Tapped," which tackles not only the issue of foreign oil in our water bottles — which leach all kinds of chemicals into the water, but also the reality that, soon, we'll soon fight over water just as we fight over oil today. It's worth a watch.

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