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Thirst Quenchers - #PlasticLessLent: Week 3

Thirst Quenchers - #PlasticLessLent: Week 3

This week, St Bride's Choir turns from hot to cold beverages as they continue their attempts at #PlasticLessLent.

From the 17th century till the 1960s, all soft drinks came in glass bottles. Then lighter aluminium cans grew in popularity and are still the top choice for fizzy drinks. But plastic has taken over in certain areas of soft drinks and water, to the point where today, one million plastic bottles are bought every minute around the world.


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Reusable Bottles

pete_bottle.jpgStaying hydrated whilst out and about often leads to buying a bottle of water or juice or using disposable plastic cups at a water cooler. It's very easy to find reusable cold drinks bottles either made of metal or bamboo. Even using a stronger plastic bottle over months or years is better than using a thin plastic bottle only once. And why not uses glasses at the water cooler? This was one of the first things we did this Lent at St Bride's.


So what to put in your new funky aluminium bottle? For decades we have been fed the myth that bottled mineral water is better for us and tastes better than tap. The truth is not only do many brands of bottled water cost 500 times the price of tap water, their quality is often less well regulated. Last year the industry used 17 million barrels of oil to make the required plastic bottles for water alone. This look at the American bottled water industry might make you never buy a bottle of water again:


fenti.pngIf water's too dull what other soft drinks avoid plastic? Some juice brands only use glass. Appletiser is widely available, and Luscombe, Biona and Suma fruit juices are easy to find in larger supermarkets and health-food shops. The latter three brands all have the bonus of being certified organic. Suma even sells a concentrate to use at home, saving on the fuel of transporting heavier glass.

Here is a report from The Ethical Consumer, exploring different brands of fruit juice and how they compare in environmental impact with the world's best-selling fruit juice, Tropicana:

As a plastic alternative, Tetrapak is lighter to transport, and more compact to stack. However, only 18% of Tetrapak cartons are recycled worldwide, and their plastic content means they won't fully biodegrade.

Fizzy Pop!

If fizzy drinks are your poison, then reach for the aluminium cans, though many are also available in old-style glass bottles, as are the wonderfully old-fashioned looking Fentiman's drinks. However, family-sized fizzy drinks seem exclusively plastic, as it is so much cheaper to produce and transport than glass.

But there is also a retro alternative. UK sales of SodaStream are on the up, with most consumers using them to make their tap water sparkling. A single recyclable CO2 canister can carbonate up to 130 litres of water, and the machine itself doesn't need electricity or batteries so is a good eco option. Here the Guardian takes a look at the recent resurgence of interest:


For too long, soft drinks companies have succeeded in convincing us that we need to buy billions of pounds' worth of drinks served in highly polluting plastic bottles. With a bit of forward planning, and a bit of thoughtful shopping, staying hydrated needn't cost the earth.

And thank goodness wine & beer already come in glass bottles awaiting the end of Lent!

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