OK, I admit it, I’m a bit of a “tree-hugger”, and that means I re-use and recycle pretty religiously. So take my following comments with a grain of salt!
One consumer product item that gets my goat a bit is pump bottles. Have you ever taken these things apart? It’s surprising how many plastic, metal, and rubber parts contribute to these pump mechanisms:
Now for some products, it might be a net benefit – for example, the liquid soap dispenser in the pictured product actually stretches the product – when dispensed as a foam, the soap actually lasts much longer, thereby lowering consumption. BUT… wouldn’t it be nice if they sold REFILL bottles of this product? They are nowhere to be found!
QUICK TIP for the science teachers! These “Method” plastic bottles make great flasks! Of course you can’t heat them, but the wide bottom makes them very stable, and being wide-mouthed and see-through makes them useful for all sorts of experiments. Don’t forget to recycle them when you’re done with them!
One set of products where pump bottles should be outlawed are lotions and creams. First off, why do you need a pump? A simple flip-cap will allow you to squeeze out the contents effectively. When a pump is used, a great deal more plastic and other materials are needed to make the pump mechanism – check out this from a Lubriderm bottle:
But what’s worse, is that the pump is complete ineffective at getting the last of the product out from the bottom of the bottle. Of course, they don’t make refills, either! The following picture shows I was able to extract 28 mls of product from a 480 ml bottle, after it became completely impossible to pump it out.
That’s 6% of the product that would otherwise go into the trash! Imagine the millions of litres of these products are wasted each year in North America, simply because of ineffective, wasteful plastic pumps.
And yes… I use plastic syringes to collect and dispense the remainder from bottles where the last bit is difficult to extract – I told you I was a tree hugger!