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Sunday, January 18, 2009

This is environmentally friendly??

While we were doing our to-ing and fro-ing today, we swung by the grocery store and I dashed in to pick up a few things. This is our usual grocery store, and the one I used to work at as a cashier. As I was standing in line, I noticed a new 18L water bottle display along the front.

Until now, this store had two options available for customers who wanted the big jugs of water for their water coolers. One involved full water bottles provided by a bottled water company. If a customer was getting a new one, they had to pay a $10 deposit for the bottle, plus the cost of the water. Once empty, they would bring back the old bottle and just pay for the water of a new one, exchanging bottle for bottle. If they forgot the empty, they had to pay the deposit again. Or, they could just return the empty and get their full deposit back. The empty bottles would then be picked up by the supplier for sterilization and refilling.

The other choice was for customers to fill bottles at a water station in one of the aisles. Customers could bring their own bottles, of buy any of a variety of sizes of empty bottles and jugs ranging from 4 to 18L in size. For the first purchase, they'd pay for the container as well as the water, and we'd add a "refill" sticker to the container so that other cashiers wouldn't charge them for the container again. The18L bottles had special caps that, once used in a cooler, could not be used again. We would provide new caps free of charge.

It looks like both of these options are now gone.

The new display had bottles each with a green coloured paper label, declaring them as being "green" and BPA free. A huge banner above declared the green-ness of these bottles, as well as the pertinent details. No deposit! 25 cent enviro fee! Single use!

Single use?

Sure enough, these new "environmentally friendly," BPA free plastic water cooler bottles can not be re-used. Once empty, you have to buy a new one. I don't even know if the new, BPA free bottles are recyclable. I do find it terribly ironic that these new "green" bottles will mean so many more bottles, since none of them are returnable or reusable.

Yeah. That's sooo much better for the environment.

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