Samuel S. Epstein MD

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By Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP:  Reduce, reuse and recycle!

Obviously, all of the R’s are very important but at the end of the day probably the most important of the three is Reduce.  If we Reduce our consumption to begin with, there won’t be the need to Reuse or Recycle the silly things we’re persuaded to purchase.  If we think about each and every purchase in the context of its life cycle maybe we’ll be smarter consumers.  And if we are smarter consumers who demand minimal packaging, earth-friendly products and no harmful chemical, maybe the producers of these products will get the hint and stop producing the silly products in the first place.

I am forever irritated by companies who sell the most unhealthy drinks, food or cleaning products and then tout how environmentally-conscious they are.  Case in point, Coca-Cola. 

According to Coke’s website, a group of student filmmakers produced a documentary that profiled the “environmental achievements of seven torchbearers selected by Coca-Cola.”  The film premiered August 13.  “The worldwide presentation by Coca-Cola of this year’s record-breaking Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay focused primarily on environmental sustainability and the roles people can play in improving the quality of life in their communities. To help underscore the message of environmental stewardship – and recognize those who are dedicated to pursuing positive change – Coca-Cola selected local environmental champions to join the ranks of all the torchbearers the Company chose around the world to carry the Olympic Flame.” 

Well, clap-clap for Coke.  Does anyone else think this is a little like paving over a rainforest and then donating money to help the prairie dogs? 

But Coke was just getting started. 

“Other environmental initiatives by Coca-Cola for the Olympic Games include the presentation to all 2008 Olympians of exclusive Coca-Cola T-shirts made from a blend of cotton and recycled PET plastic bottles, to demonstrate the high value of PET bottles and how they can be turned into desirable products. (All 2008 Paralympians are being provided unique Coca-Cola visors also produced using recycled PET.) In addition, all PET bottles collected from the Olympic venues will be recycled.”

Well, maybe that sounds like good initiatives.  Or does it? 

Mike Adams wrote an incredible article entitled The health effects of drinking soda – quotes from the expertsIt quotes Samuel S. Epstein, M.D. from his book The Safe Shopper’s Bible : A Consumer’s Guide to Nontoxic Household Products.  “PET bottling and packaging: Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is used extensively in soft drink containers. PET bottles can release small amounts of dimethyl terephthalate into foods and beverages. Although the National Cancer Institute claims that dimethyl terephthalate is non-carcinogenic, these results have been questioned. Some experts believe this compound to be carcinogenic.”

So, apparently Coke is selling unhealthy drinks in unhealthy bottles.  Then they make a presentation about environmental sustainability, improving the quality of life for people in their communities and giving away t-shirts and visors made from bottles whose materials may contain possible carcinogens.  In my mind, that doesn’t make sense.

It all begs the question: Do you really need to purchase that soft drink or could you fill up your own Corn Based Biodegradable Bottle with Carbon Filter with tap water and save money, your health and our planet?  And reduce.

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