Saturday, August 04, 2007

Making a Difference #4

Sunday Scribblings this week posted the topic "decision" which reminded me of the decision I made to try and find new things to do each week to reduce my impact on the environment. I haven't posted about it for a while, but I have made some further changes. For instance, I defrosted and turned off the bar fridge.

We inherited this with the house, and it seemed convenient to have a separate small fridge to keep the drinks cold, especially when we were entertaining. But to be honest, not much as moved in or out of it in the past (insert fairly large number of) years. It's a no-brainer to me that it's pretty pointless to keep the same six pack cold for about ten years, just in case you want a cold beer. (I don't - I don't drink beer). So I turned it off, defrosted and cleaned it, and told my husband it was OK if he turned it back on if he really wanted to. It seems he didn't.

Not quite so obvious is Sainsbury's decision in the UK to trial wine in plastic bottles, because it is better for the environment. In fact, I find this one rather ironic. It seems not so long ago that there were big protests over the move to plastic milk bottles in New Zealand, rather than glass - the protestors saying that glass is better for the environment. Of course, the glass milk bottles were reused rather than just recycled - we used to put them out for the milkman the next morning, and they would be returned to the factory and refilled.

Clearly, Sainsburys are going to save a lot of fuel moving the wine around the country, because the plastic bottles are so much lighter. And yes, the bottles are recyclable. But whether, in the whole of their life, a glass bottle or a plastic bottle is better, is not really clear to me. And we do have to consider that making plastic bottles uses up scarce petroleum deposits, whereas glass is made from sand which is plentiful.

Since one of the wines being trialled is a New Zealand wine, our local winemakers are not happy. They say that it won't help the quality image they want to project. They may be right, though I suspect that ultimately, plastic bottles will be well-accepted and not considered a sign of an inferior product.

In this household, we buy mainly cask wine anyway, so it's all packaged in plastic.

More decisions at Sunday Scribblings.

11 comments:

Leigh in Atlanta said...

Yay for green thinking.

We just recently started recycling everything and a brand new compost pile. We also started taking our own bags to the grocers and buying solely organic, minimally packaged foods.

Michele sent me over to agree with you.

Carmi said...

Although the glass vs. plastic debate will likely rage forever, the fact that we ARE debating this is great news. Awareness is the first step toward turning things around and becoming more sustainable.

You've got me thinking, Catherine. You always manage to do that.

Popped by from Michele's this time. Hope you've had a wonderful week. I'm sure I'll be by again (and again) this weekend!

'B' said...

As 'L' is the Sustainability Coordinator for where she works, a lot of the things she does there, have also been instigated here at home. The biggest thing(s) we have done, is when the hot water service went, we installed instantaneous gas service, and more ecently, changed all of the (13) halogen lights in the lounge room/kitchen, to the compact flurescents type that fit in the same hole in the roof. These two things alone, has reduced our enegy bill by $200 fo the year!!!

Michele sent me to let you know of some moe things you can do...

Oh, they have just stated a blog there as well... http://www.sustainablepenrithblog.blogspot.com/

netchick said...

Hey Catherine! Michele sent me your way tonight...

Your story reminds me of my time in southern France last year... We actually brought plastic water bottles to be filled at the street market each week (for a euro a litre, no less) to be filled with wine.

:) Thanks for sharing this with us all.

Paul said...

Good morning, Catherine. I'm here from Michele's. I live in the Heart of America (Midwest).

There's a new fury abuzz in the US. Many corporation are suddenly telling their employees to drink tap water at work. No more company-provided water in plastic containers. Saves $$$ and less plastic at the landfills. I think it's a good idea myself.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I wouldn't have thought plastic was that good for the environment. I guess it shows what I know.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

BTW, Michele sent me.

Pearl said...

Hi Catherien. Michele sent me.

Getting back to a standard bottle for refilling anything would be nice.That's a multi-faceted debate. If plastic has estrogen-like hormones in it, would health be a factor not only environmental costs of fuel? People can vote with their pocketbooks.

colleen said...

Paul Newmans just put all their salad dressing in plastic too. I was very disappointed. You know plastic can leach in the right conditions, cancer causing agents. That's why the say never to heat food in plastic containers in the microwave. Michele says hi.

Mr. Althouse said...

Green is certainly in. Even my dad who is a Lexus man is thinking about trading all that luxury in for a Prius.

Me? I'm just not there yet.

Michele sent me,

Mike

Genesis said...

Hi, I like your ideas for going green. We don´t have a fridge, so I can´t turn it off, lol. But I do try to avoid excess packaging, since recycling isn´t a big thing here in Guatemala.

Michele says hi.