Saturday, May 31, 2008

Drinking Aluminum

I've reached something of a milestone at my place of employment. As of the end of June, I'll have put in a decade.

Actually, I was hired in February of 1998 but I was made permanent in June of that year. They choose to not count those four months for some reason. I suspect it has to do with how soon they'd haev to award me additional vacation days. Whatever. Might be that way everywhere for all I know.

Now I won't go into a great deal of detail because I've heard of people getting in trouble over posting work-related matters on blogs and such. Anyone in my little circle knows what company I'm referring to and for those that don't, it's not that relevant anyway. The point is that as a result of my reaching this little milestone, I was awarded a very modest shopping spree through the company's catalogue of promotional items.

On the downside, my "allowance" was modest to the point of making it difficult for me to find something I could "afford". On the upside, I quickly spotted a link for "eco options". All right then, so let's do that!

To my surprise, they offered shirts made of bamboo. That was something that I would have thought too obscure still for the company catalogue. Very pleased, but I can't afford them anyway, so let's move along.

I ended up holding true to a vague promise made at the end of this post. Corn plastic mugs were available and I went for one. It's this kind...

...though not that specific one, sadly (I'm eh eh...I like that). Mine bears the company logo (it is, after all, a promotional item), is yellow and only slightly less bright than the surface of the sun.

The link in that post for info about corn plastic is no longer active, so let's throw down a refresher:

Corn-based plastics take just 45 days to biodegrade in a landfill. Normal plastic can take thousands of years to decompose. Corn plastics contain no petroleum, require 20 to 50 percent less fossil fuel to create and are derived from a renewable resource.

But environmentalists warn that corn plastic also has environmental drawbacks.

“The major problem with corn is that 80 percent of the corn crop is paid for by the taxpayers through subsidy payments to producers,” said Jeff Webster, secretary of the agricultural committee of the Sierra Club, a national environmental group. Industrial farming also requires huge amounts of gas, coal or petroleum. “There is a very large environmental price associated with corn production,” Webster said.

There's always something to bitch about...

This mug ate up about half my budget, so items such as umbrellas and writing materials were now out of the question. So I stayed in the same category and scored me an aluminum water bottle.

There's a building movement now towards reducing the amount of plastic bottles from which we drink. They apparently release a bunch of chemicals that I can't pronounce into my Greek God bod and that's bad.

The latest research suggests that students should be wary about which plastic water bottles they drink out of. The dangerous chemical bisphenol A can be found in water bottles sold across campus, including Willy's Hawkshop in the University Center.

Bisphenol A is a molecular monomer (simplest molecular structure in the structure of a larger molecule) that is polymerized (bonded in a continuous chain) to produce many of the plastics we use everyday...For many years BPA was considered harmless, but the latest research suggests that exposure to BPA can be dangerous. A research group funded by the American Plastics Council at Harvard University was the catalyst of the widespread use of BPA. This corporate-funded research group concluded after a two and a half year delay, that low-dose exposure to BPA did not constitute a significant risk, according to Frederick S. vom Saal and Claude Hughes in an article published in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Since then, more than 115 independent, in vivo studies have been conducted that all conclude otherwise. The latest research suggests that exposure levels below the previously thought of safe limit can disrupt the endocrine system, disrupt cell function, mutate genes, stop cell reproduction, and even hinder testosterone synthesis in males, according to vom Saal and Hughes.

Good. So I'm going to ditch the plastic water bottle the company gave me last year (thanks for trying to kill me slowly, bastards) and move on to my aluminum one. That is, until they find out that drinking from aluminum bottles causes dementia and gonad shrinkage or something and we move on to drinking from ceramic pots strapped around our necks. One thing at a time though. For now, aluminum is boss.

At the risk of appearing like an opportunist, I left only $0.75 on the table after my shopping trip. I probably could have ordered mints as well; in fact my co-workers might have appreciated it! But they came individually wrapped so, well, you know...

The mints, I mean, not my co-workers.

1 comment:

Lynn Sinclair said...

Congrats on 10 years, THIT! I'm sure the aluminum water bottle will be fine, but we'll let you know if your posts begin showing any signs of increasing dementia.