In Honor of Earth Day

It’s raining. Pretty hard. Like it’s dark outside – at 11am. What a downer. I am trying to decide what to do for lunch – since I left my umbrella in the car like an idiot. Do I brave the rain to get to the car to drive in the rain with my sub-par windshield wipers to eat lunch at home? Or do I wait it out, eat something from the vending machine to pull me through, and leave when/if it stops raining? Hmm. My 4-pound passenger will probably vote for the rain…

 

So I’ve been thinking about this for a few days and I think I’m ready to comment. I don’t quite know how seriously we should be taking this plastic bottle scare. I first saw the story on Today (where I get most all of my TV news) about a week ago.Matt Lauer interviewed some teenage-looking doctor who claimed that there are certain “numbers” of water bottles that are – in a word – poisonous.

 

Grab the closest plastic bottle. Turn it over. There should be a symbol on the bottom that looks like this:

 

pete_resin_code

 

Apparently, plastic bottles range in “number” from 1 to 7 depending on thickness, durability, yada yada. A typical Coke bottle is an example of a 1, while a Nalgene bottle is an example of a 7. According to this doctor/scientist/whatever-he-was, numbers 5,6 and 7 contain dangerous levels of a chemical called bisphenol A (BPA). So… the doctor went on to warn of all the horrible things that will happen if you (God forbid) reuse a grocery-grade water bottle, and (calling out the Nalgene brand) went on and on about the deadly affects of using these number 6s and 7s.

 

nalgene

Now.Not only do I tend to be skeptical of such claims, but I also thought it was a TAD dramatic. Out of nowhere, this no-name doctor claims that the BAJILLIONS of plastic bottles we use everyday are causing neurological, behavioral and fertility issues and even some cancers? Please.

 

However. I continued to hear about this through various vehicles: TV, internet Mommy message boards… and I’m starting to think that it’s all a big marketing gimmick choreographed by Nalgene.

 

(Editor’s Note: As always, there is a chance I will be forced to eat these words when the news breaks that this plastic bottle epidemic is, in fact, disastrous on a scale comparable to the recent Pet Food Recall or Mad Cow Disease. Laura – check your peanut butter.)

 

Here’s my take. Nalgene is pulling all of their BPA-containing bottles from stores and replacing them with “safe” alternatives. Does no one else see through this?? Nalgene is a trusted brand with significant brand-loyalty. Everyone who owns a BPA-contaminated water bottle will inevitably throw it out and buy one of the new models. This is genius. Nalgene currently sells a product that is virtually indestructible. Not a lot of repeat purchase. You don’t really go through several of these bottles in a short period – so Nalgene is hurting for repeat business. It’s kinda like whatever that chewing gum is that claims to keep its flavor so long that their sales are suffering because people are “still on their first piece”… Same idea. But Nalgene has devised a plan to get all (most?) of their current customers to RE-buy their SAME PRODUCT!

 

If it’s NOT a marketing trick – it’d be a great one. Suddenly, an image of Pinky and the Brain comes to mind… 

 

2 Responses to In Honor of Earth Day

  1. whiskeyzipper April 22, 2008 at 2:38 pm #

    That is easily the smartest thing I’ve heard all month. Props to you and your four pound passenger.

  2. Lonette April 23, 2008 at 11:18 am #

    And that, my friend, is why you are the brilliant marketing exec with the office and desk and lunch break and real grown-up job!

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