But before we all go out and invest in this technology, we need to review everything that a drink bottle does:.
- It needs to seal the water in and all other contaminants out.
- It needs to be made from materials that will not leach unsafe levels of chemicals into the water, or react with the water.
- It needs to not have any structural failure:
- during shipment from the bottles' manufacturer (who is often someone different than the company filling the bottle) to the filling plant
- while it is in the filling equipment
- while the bottle is put into
- the secondary packaging (often shrinkwrap)
- into the tertiary packaging (a cardboard box)
- additional packaging (such as to secure it to a pallet)
- or during shipment via (multiple) trucks or boats
- while on the shelf or rack, particularly when multiple layers of filled bottles are stacked on top of it
- during the "normal" lifespan that the consumer has it
- Keep in mind that during shipment and in the hands of the consumer, the bottle can see temperature extremes from below freezing temperatures to 140 oF or more, as well as UV light which can degrade polymers. If there is structural failure, the water will leak from the bottle, requiring that at the very least, that bottle be thrown away or recycled. Keep in mind that that bottle's contents are then also wasted. Depending on the extent and location of the leaker, the cardboard packaging may be weakened so that handling the other bottles or even the pallet with a forklift may be a problem, and therefore many more bottles may end up being trashed.
- The bottle needs to cost as little as possible.
- The water can only diffuse very slowly through the bottle's walls. Once too much water has evaporated, the bottle no longer holds the volume stated on the label, say 500 ml. Now it's mislabeled, and cannot be sold, so into the wastestream it goes.
I see the only real competitor to plastic in bottles is paper lined with a sealant, much like milk in paper cartons. Boxed water is better.
The "sealants" (more properly called "barriers") can present problems with recycling the paper.
Let's not forget that items humans consume can also be consumed by a variety of vermin, e.g., rats, locusts, and nasty microbiological organisms. Modern packaging protects us from many of these pathogens because they're inedible.
This sounds like a brainstorming idea that should have been cut from the list of things to do.
I never even thought of that angle. Great of you to mention it.
They claim to have "significant water diffusional resistance", but I'd be interested to see how they quantified it. Still looking for more information, they don't seem to have published anything on it yet.
I'll preface this by saying I'm no chemist, just a bored 3rd shift cubicle jockey. But would sanitation be less of a concern if the bottle had to be "cooked" in order to be eaten? I'm envisioning a plastic bottle made from some sort of corn based plastic that when microwaved would "puff up" into something with a texture/flavor similar to a bugle corn chip.
Clever idea, although cooking only "sanitizes" certain types of contamination (bacteria), and would do nothing for dirt (hair, soil particles...). A clever idea nonetheless.
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