While I was away this weekend, I received this email from a San Francisco company that installs solar water heaters:
from Joseph Wright
to Beth Terry
date Sun, Oct 25, 2009 at 5:05 PM
subject Thanks and Question
I wanted to write to let you know what a hero you are of mine and I want to thank you for the positive influence that you have on the lives of others and the environment…I also have a question…I am a fellow Bay Area native and I operate a sustainable water heating business — after reading your recent blog post I have decided to eliminate PVC from our materials list (obviously very common plumbing material) and we will never look back… I have reposted your entry on our blog and was wondering if you would prefer some other way for us to refer to your information. I hope that all is well and I look forward to more of your inspiring ideas and calls to action…
1812 Polk Street | San Francisco, CA 94105
510 604 4511 tel
888 525 4121 fax
The point? You never ever know who is watching, listening, and taking note. You don’t know what kind of influence you have unless people tell you. Usually they don’t. So just keep going and don’t give up! Yay team go! (No, I never was a cheerleader. Just learning now.)
Anyway, I asked Joe what the company would use instead of PVC. His answer was quite thoughtful and expresses his concern that all pipe materials produce some environmental impact. The company uses hard copper pipe rather than PVC:
Typically, a short extension of PVC is used to pipe out the run from the temperature and pressure relief valve on conventional water heaters – you likely have a short run of PVC on your water heater. There have been some advancements in the way PEX is now manufactured, but extremely far from ideal…I like copper, though that itself is no silver bullet given the hazards of mining. I would love to be using bamboo, but getting that integrated into state and municipal codes is nowhere close…As we push forward in convincing people how nonsensical it is to continue to pipe, truck, and burn natural gas from west Texas, we continue to look for ways to push our actions further in the right direction – thanks again for your help in this.
This company can now be an example to other plumbing companies showing one way in which we can avoid toxic materials for building our homes.
By the way, you may have noticed a whole new set of Menu Items on Fake Plastic Fish, many of which do not lead anywhere yet. It’s my version of a Halloween haunted house. And also just that I am working on creating the pages that will be linked.
I’ll be putting up Joe’s story in the Successes section under “Business” along with Laundry Tree Soap Nuts, for eliminating plastic packaging, Brita for creating a filter recycling program, and other companies that have been inspired to make plastic-free changes. If you know of any businesses that have made changes as a result of grassroots action (like blogs, letter-writing, customer requests, etc. rather than legislative mandate) please let me know their story!