The twins, Tommy and Jane, loved visiting Grandma and Grandpa on the 4th of July. The small-town parade, band concert and fireworks were a summer highlight. While most of the grownups were enjoying an afternoon snooze, they crept up to the attic hoping to discover ancient treasures; they weren’t disappointed.
Under a dusty pile of books Jane spotted something wrapped in an old t-shirt. “Look Tommy!” Jane exclaimed. “I think I found Great-grandpa’s Magic Vessel!”
The twins had heard many stories about a strange craze people went through 40-50 years earlier. Instead of drinking water from the tap, many people paid for a drink of water in a plastic bottle and then threw the bottle away! Just imagine; in the U.S. in 2019, 1,500 plastic bottles were discarded EVERY SECOND! That added up to 38 billion bottles each year. It made the twins’ heads spin to think people could be so foolish.
At that time only about 30% of those bottles got recycled, or more exactly, downcycled – made into some other plastic product, not another bottle. The rest ended up in landfills or littered around the countryside and in bodies of water. There the plastic would slowly biodegrade into tiny microplastic fragments and be ingested by all sorts of creatures eventually moving up the food chain and on to people’s dinner plates. Estimates were that there was as much microplastic in the ocean as in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area of trash twice the size of the state of Texas!
Scratching his head Tommy held up the container. “So you think this is Great-gramps’ magic vessel. But it looks like a plain old water bottle to me,” he protested. “That’s just it,” Jane explained. “By using this aluminum bottle over the years, Great-grandpa avoided using thousands of plastic bottles. It was like making those unneeded bottles vanish before they were even made, so he called it his magic vessel.”
Carefully re-wrapping the bottle, they noticed a second container, a thermal mug and lid. Of course! Great-gramps’ magic coffee container. Tommy and Jane smiled knowing thousands more Styrofoam and insulated cups had NOT littered the planet.
You and I can also enjoy the magic of beverage consumption in reusable containers. Especially during summer travels, it’s one small step in protecting the only home we’ll ever know. Right here, where we’re all forever… Earthbound.