Sunday, January 15, 2017


“Perhaps you shouldn’t re-use that container,” I said to Mike as he prepared a packable beverage for his hunting excursion. Mike likes nothing better than to re-use, and those Langer’s plastic juice containers are a handy size and seal well. (They’re just darn cute! I like them.)

“Why?” he asked. “Is it a carcinogen?”
“Apparently,” I replied.
“Then, should we use them in the first place?” he asked.
“My point exactly,” I responded.

A variety of liquid containers -- furthest right is cardboard
More than a decade ago, I began to hear warnings about the use of plastics for food storage, including the re-use of plastic packaging. Tupperware was really bad, they said. Never re-warm your food in any plastic container. And the worst offender was the 16-ounce container in which water is sold. Never re-use them. And to make matters worse, they aren’t recyclable either – at least not in our community.

Apparently, though, the water bottling industry is alive and well. Have we altered the packaging? One website suggests that any alteration to the plastic formula has only made the dangers worse.

Hallie asked about buying bottled water in the opening post. I can hear my grandmothers scoffing. Water was one commodity that was free to all. (Of course, they trusted in the safety of river, creek, and spring water.) Bottled drinking water is a relatively recent development. Even if you think of me as “grandma,” in my day we didn’t buy water or even carry it around. In class, we were expected to make it through the hour without water, thirsty or not.

Kathy at six -- in my gutsy days
I so remember that day in first grade when my teacher, Mrs. Bonner, announced that we could no longer get a drink during class. I didn’t take her seriously, or I forgot. I got up, got a drink from the fountain, and the next thing I knew she had unceremoniously – or maybe it was ceremoniously – placed me on a chair in the corner with my back to the class to ponder the error of my ways. (It was not the only time I sat in the corner, by the way.)

Yes, it’s true. If you were thirsty – tough. This was probably good training for adult life where the expectation was that a person could sit through meetings without drinking water, going to the restroom, etc.

Today bottled water is accepted most everywhere. People carry them around – or sometimes they’re provided. In fact, you can find patterns online for crocheted water bottle carriers. Last year I made such a carrier so that I could carry water for the dogs during the heat of summer. (Writing during a cold winter, I wonder if it will ever be hot again.) So, yes, I hypocritically re-use a water bottle, but I figure it won’t hurt the dogs.

But, I digress. As a people, do we heed those warnings against plastic use and re-use? Are the warnings fair, or are they bogus? If you became ill, would your medical professionals tell you that you suffer from “xyz” disease because you used plastic? I don’t think so. But still, is enough being done to protect the consumer? KW


Chris said...

Haha! Love the photo and caption of you!!! I spent my share of times in the corner and standing behind my desk for talking. I even fell off my chair in reading and got bumped back a group! We were a couple of wild and crazy six year olds!

Kathy said...

Well, if it's any consolation, I don't remember a thing about your trouble, and only a little about my own. In my own mind, I wasn't willfully disobedient, so I didn't see punishment coming and my feelings were hurt. Mother said that as rules were gradually enforced, I would forget, and then I was the example. (And you and I were a couple of the youngest in the class, too.)

On the other hand, I learned the value of staying out of jail.

Yes, reading groups: the bluebirds, the butterflies, and the bees -- or something like that. The ranking was obvious to me from the beginning. I was in the middle group to begin with, I think, and was thrilled when I was promoted.

Chris said...

Yes, we all knew what those groups meant. I started out in the middle group, too. I wonder who was in the high group?? I had made it into the high group when I had my little oops, but I managed to talk my way back up in a day or so. Oh my goodness.