When home videotaping first emerged, it revolutionized multiple industries, including home entertainment and personal photography. Everyone saw the value, of course, but there were, of course, competing solutions for meeting the need. Sony liked their format, Betamax. Some argue it had a better picture. JVC liked VHS. It was cheaper. They ultimately accomplished the same goals and could be put to the same uses. Eventually Betamax lost out, but not before a lot of folks purchased machines that were obsolete when it came time to rent at most video stores.
It’s not the first time it’s happened, nor will it be the last. It happened recently in the entertainment electronics industry when Blu-Ray beat HD-DVD to become the reigning format for hi definition discs. In the auto industry, various incompatible schemes for charging electric cars are duking it out. Of course, such competition is generally a good thing; it sharpens the engineering behind all methods in the running, and the marketplace gets to decide which advantages take precedence, which standards make the most sense, and which methods will ultimately become standards.
Unfortunately, a competition currently underway in the field of materials handling for plastics may take a longer than we’d like to declare a winner. It’s a case in which two good ideas may lead to a bad result for plastics and the environment.
The more established contender for dealing with all the plastic we generate—billions and billions of bottle each year, for instance—is, of course, recycling. Recycling is easy to understand and products have certainly moved to adopt it as a direction. On the other hand, the vast majority of even recyclable plastics wind up in landfills anyway. And the economic viability of recycling—that is, the cost of using recycled plastic versus new material—is shaky at best. Still, it’s the best known solution, and billions have been spent to further its success.
In the other corner are a new breed of additives and plastic varieties that strive to make plastics easier to breakdown and less harmful to the environment. It sounds great and is certainly worthy of development, though there is lively debate on whether or not the end result truly beneficial. That result is sure to improve overtime as the technology is developed. The larger problem, in the meantime, is that such alternative materials are extremely harmful to the recycling process. These new plastics foul the system, so to speak, and are naturally hard to separate from the truly recyclable plastics already in the marketplace.
Now, there’s nothing wrong in theory with either idea. But neither one is currently solving the problem of plastic. We can work to increase recycling; we can work to find the right use for new plastics. But maybe a better answer lies at the root of the problem: reducing our use of plastic altogether. That’s where Paper Water Bottle comes in: offering products that cut through the noise by offering A Refreshing Alternative.