Reusing plastic bottles - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-26-2003, 02:49 PM   #1
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Reusing plastic bottles

Ok, buried deep within another thread, Rick posted an alert about reusing plastic bottles ... particularly reusing plastic bottles meant as one-time use.

Could be a breeding ground for all kinds of things.

Since I've been recommending folks refill milk and soda bottles with beverages of choice and use the frozen bottles to cool their RV refrigerators and coolers ... I thought I'd bring this out to its own thread.

Now, let me say, Pam and I have been doing refilling and reusing bottles for years ... without a problem ...

We do seem to have an unusual number of sores on our lips and mouth, and at times, constant diarrhea ... but I sincerely don't believe this is from reusing an occasional bottle.
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Old 05-26-2003, 02:49 PM   #2
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Ok, ok, so I'm joking about the sores and montezuma's revenge.

But Rick does bring up a valid point.

Pam and I usually only reuse the bottles a time or two ... so maybe we've just been lucky.

I did a google search for "reusing plastic bottles" and found reports both pro and con to reusing bottles.

It's something to take into account before you do it.

I'd hate for anybody to get sick by something I recommended they do.
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Old 05-26-2003, 02:56 PM   #3
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Now, we don't scrub the bottles with harsh soap prior to refilling, but we do rinse them well and let them dry.

Rick's report mentioned that perhaps soap causes the one-time-use plastic bottles to break down.

And some reports apparently bear that out ... while others don't.

We reuse 24 ounce soda bottles ... only a couple of times ... and while soap might break down some bottles, it's hard for me to believe that the tiny bit of soap Pam uses to rinse the bottles would cause a problem.

Soda supposedly can completely eat up a metal bolt ... so I would think the consistancy of those bottles would be up to being scrubbed with a little soap.

But as I said, you have to pay your money, do your own research, make up your own mind.

Milk bottles ... both plastic and glass ... are recycled here ... and I think that means they are sorted and cleaned and if the bottles are up to the task, refilled and resold.

We often freeze orange juice in a half-gallon milk bottle and take it down the road.
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Old 05-26-2003, 03:01 PM   #4
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I'm also addicted to fountain pop.

I can't pass a gas station with a soda machine.

And have about a half dozen plastic refill cups running around inside my Suburban.

Much to Pam's chagrin, the cups only get washed when she's able to pry them out of my sticky hands .... usually once or twice a year.

Ok, maybe a little bit more often that that.

But still, a new straw every week or so ... a new lid when the old one cracks all the way through ... and I'm good to go.

I figure the soda pop is strong enough to kill any bug-a-boos that might be growing on the refill cup.

I sometimes worry about the algae that occasionally lines the rim of the cup ... but a few years ago, a friend of mine got into health food and tried to get me to ingest something called "Blue Green Algae."

He said "Blue Green Algae" would extend my life, almost like a fountain of youth.

I told him I'd stick with soda pop algae. It was cheaper to grow my own on my refill cups!
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Old 05-26-2003, 03:04 PM   #5
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I don't think it's legal to reuse a plastic milk bottle (for commercial sale, I mean). The plastic used for food has to be virgin product... at least in Texas.

One thing I figured out is it's much easier to reuse a plastic jug that had drinking water in it than it is to clean a milk jug. Drinking water jugs (gallon size) are just 58 cents apiece at WalMart (and similar price at the grocery). On the first use, there's a bonus: they're already clean and filled with water!

:sunny
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Old 05-26-2003, 03:07 PM   #6
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Dare I admit to one of the real and present dangers of bleaching an old bottle to disinfect for reuse?

If you're not very careful, you might drink the bleach water. (Granted you won't drink more than a swig of it!)

At least I would imagine this could/would be the case. I'm not going to admit to having first hand knowledge.

Where's that old thread about dumb camping things we have done? :o
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Old 05-26-2003, 03:10 PM   #7
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We always buy gallon-jugged drinking water at Walmart, too, Mary ... and use it for coffee, tea and cooking.

We occasionally refill them ... especially when the campground's water comes from a clean mountain spring ... near a open meadow on a mountain top (even Coors beer uses the water from there, I'm told!)
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Old 05-26-2003, 03:15 PM   #8
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Plastic bottle reuse

Charles,

Thanks for pointing this out. I also have recommend their reuse. We have been doing it for years for traveling and golfing. Never had a problem yet. Hope no one else does.
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Old 05-26-2003, 03:16 PM   #9
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From the Berkeley (CA) Ecology Center (which is probably a bunch of hippies):

REUSING PLASTIC CONTAINERS

Reusing containers is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to reduce the environmental impact of packaging. Some plastic containers can be made durable enough to be refilled and reused about 25 times before becoming too damaged for reuse. Refilling and reusing plastic containers directly reduces the demand for disposable plastic. Accordingly, lowering demand for single-use containers reduces waste and energy consumption. Based on 1990 data, if glass and PET bottles were refilled and reused 2535 times, the overall weight of beer and soft drink container waste would be reduced by 73.6%. Significant reductions in waste and energy consumption can be achieved with just 78 reuses of a single bottle.

One toxicity study investigating the use of PET for refillable bottles tested various toxic substances to see if they would be absorbed into the PET plastic during one use, then released in the next use. After test substances were removed and the plastic washed, the bottles were filled with food, and the contents were analyzed. The analysis showed that none of the test substances was absorbed into the PET. This study concluded that PET could be considered as a practical candidate for refillable containers. As discussed above, migration of additives from the PET itself is still a problem.

Reusing glass containers was standard procedure in this country through about the 1950s, and there are still a few products distributed in reusable containers. For example, milk is sold in both plastic and glass containers that have been washed and refilled.

http://www.ecologycenter.org/plastics/repo...ort1996_04.html
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Old 05-26-2003, 03:18 PM   #10
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But isn't bleach - Chlorine? and isn't Chlorine put in pools and drinking water? (course thats very very weak) and I **think** I remember something about bleach and water in Girl Scouts. anybody know?
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Old 05-26-2003, 03:24 PM   #11
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A tablespoon of bleach to a pint of water is pretty strong stuff ... :sick ... for drinking, I mean.

And that's all I'm gonna say on the subject!!
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Old 05-26-2003, 03:27 PM   #12
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I just talked with my son-in-law, who has a Master's Degree in Biology and in is his second year of med school ....

He said Pam and I don't have to worry about our own germs on the interior or threads of the reused bottles, because even if the germs multiply, they are our germs.

However, he said, there are various bug-a-boos floating around in the environment that could land on the open top, or contaminate the bottle when you put it down and it tips over.

Thing is, you are constantly being assaulted with those germs ... and it would be hard to tell whether you got sick from something you touched seconds before you picked up the bottle or something that was growing under the gasket of the bottle top.

(He, of course, used much bigger words than I am ... so this is my take on what he said).

Bottom line ... since Pam and I kiss (on even number anniversaries), we're probably not going to get sick from any germs that we might put on the bottles ... however, we might get sick from something picked up on the bottle between refills ... but it also could be something we picked up, just before we picked up the bottle we reused.

Bottom line ... germs are everywhere and we're all going to die.
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Old 05-26-2003, 03:31 PM   #13
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Interestingly enough ... the Blue Green Algae my health food friend wanted me to start taking .... because it was sold in the health food stores ... ended up being common grade pond scum.

http://www.hcrc.org/faqs/algae.html

Expensive pond scum ... but pond scum never-the-less.

I guess while I can't wholeheartedly recommend that everyone reuse their plastic bottles ... I'm not going to lose a lot of sleep over it, either.

Be reasonable carefully cleaning the bottles between uses. Only use them a couple of times, then toss them.

Kiss your spouse, significant other and kids often, so that you are cross contaminated with their germs ...

And go camping!
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Old 05-26-2003, 03:36 PM   #14
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And, if you get thirsty when you're at the dump station ....

For God's sake, throw that bottle away ASAP!!!!!
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