04/14/2008 Update: If you’ve reached this page because you want to know how to recycle Brita filter cartridges in North America, please visit http://www.takebackthefilter.org for more information about the campaign to urge Clorox (owner of Brita in North America) to develop a take-back recycling program for these cartridges!
In solidarity with my guy Michael, who left on a jet plane today with his TSA regulation zip-lock bag of liquids and gels, I packed up my plastic waste in a zip-lock type bag that I happened to acquire this week. He’s got a conference to attend for a couple of days, and then he’ll be joining me in Anaheim as my friend David and I attempt the Disneyland Half Marathon on Labor Day.
Crimany! I’ve run exactly 4 times since my surgery on June 11. It will be interesting to see if I’m still alive to blog about plastic in a week after dragging my untrained self 13.1 miles through the happiest place on earth. If so, I’ll probably have some interesting things to share about plastic in Mickey’s world.
So, here’s the tally for week 10:
Non-recyclable items used this week but purchased before the plastic project began:
- 8 Refresh Endura single-use eye drop containers (#4 plastic).
- 1 San Francisco Silent Film Festival laminated pass & neck cord. I found this while cleaning out my backpack this week.
- 1 Brita filter cartridge. As I’ve mentioned before, the filters are encased in a disposable plastic housing. But, with Michael gone and time on my hands, and no one to stop me, I decided to do a little further hands-on research. I used a hand saw to cut through the plastic and reveal the cartridge innards.
As you can see, in addition to the housing, the carbon filter has two endcaps, also made of plastic.
My question is this: Why do these cartridges need a disposable housing? Wouldn’t it make more sense to sell a permanent housing that you would open to insert a cartridge consisting of just the carbon filter with the endcaps?
That is how the Multi-Pure system is put together, which Scott from Least Footprint recommended to me this weekend. The housing sits on the counter or under the sink, and the cartridge is a carbon block with two plastic end caps. The cartridge only needs to be replaced once a year, resulting in much less plastic waste than with the Brita System.
I also found out this weekend that Brita USA is actually owned by Clorox, that environmentally responsible manufacturer of such products as Clorox bleach, Liquid Plumr, and Glad plastic trash bags. So another reason the cartridges are recyclable in Europe and not in the United States could be because they’re not actually made by the same company, and the company that does make them in the U.S. doesn’t give a crap!
- 1 Brita cartridge blister pack. (See above.)
- 1 baggie from a ChampionChip timing chip. This is the thing you put on your shoe that keeps track of where you are during a race. This one was from the SF Bay to Breakers in May, and I happened to find it while cleaning.
- 1 plastic wrapper from something I don’t remember.
Recyclable items purchased before the plastic project began:
- 1 ground black pepper container (#1 plastic) & lid. Now that the ground pepper is used up, I’ve switched to buying whole peppercorns in bulk and grinding them in a pepper mill. I’ll either reuse this container or recycle it in Daly City.
- 1 Safeway Organics applesauce cup (#7 plastic). I have 1 more of these left to use up and can recycle the cups at work in Daly City.
Now for the new plastic waste:
- Plastic corks from 2 bottles of Boissonneau Chateau Moulin de Ferrand Bordeaux Blanc.
- 1 zip-lock type bag which contained a Jessica Prentice SF bay Area Local Foods Wheel. What a little dilemma I had this week. The Local Foods Wheel was recommended to me by a woman I met at the farmer’s market last Sunday. It shows what foods are in season in the Bay Area during the year. What a great idea! Yet, when I went to purchase the Local Foods Wheel, I found it packaged in a very large zip-lock bag. So I e-mailed Jessica Prentice to ask about her decision to use this kind of packaging. She wrote back that she wanted to use biodegradable materials but hadn’t been able to find a bag in the right size. I’ve offered to help her find a more sustainable type of packaging. We’ll see what happens.
That’s it. I didn’t buy any other plastic last week.
Hey, I love all of your comments, and it will be especially nice to get them this week while Michael is away.