A friend recently reported to me that she was taken to task by a green-leaning colleague for selecting a juice box to drink at a networking function. Juice boxes, the eco-narc proclaimed, were NOT recyclable in their municipality. My friend sheepishly sucked on her tiny plastic straw, convinced that all her attempts to live green — riding her bicycle to work, growing her own organic produce — were wiped out by this one transgression.
In the ten years since I’ve been embarking on nature travels, I’ve seen a lot of outdoor gear evolve. Hiking boots, thermal undergarments and GPS units are just some of the items that have undergone striking advances.
But the one essential piece of outdoor equipment that has gone through a gamut of changes, caused the most controversy and been the most intriguing is the water bottle.
It usually starts with one plastic water bottle or one beer can, casually tossed aside, just visible in the underbrush off the side of the trail where I’m walking. My thoughts are soon torn away from nature and “What a beautiful place this is,” to “What an eyesore; what the heck was that person thinking?” And then, all of a sudden, what just a moment ago looked to me like a pristine wilderness transforms into a one-item garbage dump. All I can focus on is that one rusty can or bent bottle.
Working out takes a lot of energy – and not just the physical kind. You probably haven’t given much thought to the environmental impact of your workout — but the gear it takes to keep you comfortably, safely active can leave a surprisingly pudgy environmental footprint.
When I think of plastic #5 — polypropylene, commonly used for yogurt containers, syrup bottles, ketchup bottles, caps, straws and medicine bottles — I think of my mother going into a fit of recycling rage, ranting about the fact that we couldn’t recycle plastic #5 in our area. But the real story here parallels the BPA scare with water bottles and baby bottles …