Down with these eco-friendly bottles

Environmentalists have turned swigging your favourite soft drinks into a hellish experience.

Simone Hanna

Topics Politics Science & Tech World

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I would lick a swing seat before I drank the tap water in London. I remember my first taste of it more vividly than my first alcoholic drink. You turn on the tap, expecting refreshment. Instead, you get a liquid that tastes as if it has been filtered through a thousand Victorian teapots, to the point where you wonder if Dickens himself sipped the same stuff as is now swilling around your cup.

They say familiarity breeds contempt, and this is even more so with tap water. You swirl the glass and inhale. Ah yes, a Thames ’24 – calcium, magnesium, a hint of limestone, with top notes of rusty pipe. Is it hard, or just happy to see me? It can’t possibly be when it treats me like this.

What a wild and whimsical journey the water here takes, beginning somewhere in the River Thames, flowing past palaces, bridges and the occasional swan before it’s filtered (to safety regulations, not to taste) and then drunk begrudgingly late at night when I have run dry of water bottles. Thank God for those little vessels of civilisation.

Unfortunately, it seems I can no longer even enjoy a simple water bottle, for the eco-zealots have ruined those, too. Plastic bottles have suffered an all-too-similar fate to our beloved plastic straws, except the result is less mush and more scratch.

The plastic bottle has had a remodel. Though, unlike earlier eco-friendly adaptations, companies haven’t suddenly decided to serve your favourite soft drinks in paper or cardboard – instead, you can no longer detach the cap.

What an evil design it is. The bottle still has those nasty pointy pricks after the lid is unsealed, giving the neck its own form of hostile architecture. This means I’m not just discouraged from ripping the lid off – I also don’t want to drink from the bottle at all. This strange, poorly thought-out design makes it harder to reseal the bottle, too, leading to leaks and spillages – punishing you for pursuing the basic act of hydration.

Originally, I assumed this was the cruel work of a single company and so I switched brands. I was later devastated to realise this wretched curse has caught up many drinks bottles. This was no case of bad redesign, but bad law – EU law, to be precise. In an effort to reduce waste caused by single-use plastics, as of last week, plastic caps must remain tethered on all single-use plastic beverage containers of up to three litres. The aim is to stop people from throwing away the lid so it can be recycled with the rest of the bottle.

Hang on, isn’t this supposed to be post-Brexit Britain? It seems we still can’t get away from silly EU product standards. Most UK manufacturers have just decided to follow them anyway, even though there is no legal obligation to do so.

Were plastic-bottle lids really ever a great environmental menace? Did everyone really just throw away the cap separately before? And must ‘saving the planet’ really come at the cost of scratching my lip? Apparently so, at least according to the powers-that-be.

As an act of rebellion, I have started ripping off and throwing away the lids out of sheer spite. Bringing paper bags into shops in a country as rainy as Britain was the environmentalists’ first act of war. I refuse to let them win this battle, too. Perhaps if enough of us do this, we will outdo the original eco-criminals and teach the EU and the greens a lesson.

We cannot keep sacrificing life’s conveniences at the altar of Mother Earth. Do not make me drink the tap water.

Simone Hanna is a writer.

Picture by: Getty.

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Topics Politics Science & Tech World


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