They sell us poison, wrapped in poison

Bottles at a poison factory flying down the production line

Sugary poison beverages, also known as soda, are a blight on the modern world.

They sap our energy and destroy our bodies, while getting us deeply addicted. They drive epidemics of childhood obesity, diabetes, and metabolic devastation.

And the vessels for this sugary poison are equally toxic and destructive.

Plastics are cheap and convenient, so we use them everywhere. They’re nearly impossible to avoid.

A plastic-free lifestyle takes such a concentrated effort that most people choose to just turn a blind eye and get on with their lives.

I’m guilty of this. Most of the foods I consume and products I use come in plastic containers. I try to reduce my plastic waste by making bottle bricks, but I still throw some away. Dirtballs come in plant-based plastic, but that’s not a great solution.

Waste management systems let us throw our trash and our worries into a void, removed from our everyday existence. Out of sight, out of mind.

But plastic is toxic. The original plastic was made of phenol and formaldehyde, essentially coal tar and embalming fluid. Poison mixed with poison.

Toxic origins

Leo Hendrick Baekland, the chemist who set this plastic tsunami in motion, was honest about his intentions. He was trying to invent substances that would make him a lot of money.

And I don’t fault him for that. I’m building this business to make money, and I think it’s a perfectly acceptable motivation for innovative chemistry.

As is the case with so many technologies, however, plastic’s inventors had no way of knowing the full consequences of their actions.

But Baekland was a good chemist. He invented a material that suited mass producers’ economic needs extremely well. His invention became the foundation for many corporations’ business models. If Coke only sold their toxic brown syrup in glass bottles, they would not be as profitable.

Toys, cookware, cosmetics, clothing, electronics, and damn near every other type of product all are made of plastic or come shipped in plastic bags.

And there’s zero transparency about what types of plastic they use, what’s in the plastics, and what it costs to produce and dispose of them.

“The industry has no idea what they’re putting in the plastic and who’s putting it in,” said Andrew Turner, a British chemist who recently found toxic chemicals in 40 percent of the black plastic toys, thermoses, cocktail stirrers, and utensils he tested.

Companies like Pepsi and Nestle are doubly guilty. They sell products that pollute our bodies in containers that pollute our planet.

And they make a killing doing it.

What can we do?

It’s easy to say we just need to make different choices as consumers. But big plastic even manages to pollute efforts to educate people on recycling.

The American Plastic Bag association recently sponsored a plastic recycling program, while simultaneously lobbying lawmakers to stop plastic bag bans.

One option would be legal action. Given all the destruction they cause, we can just sue the bastards, right?

Well, environmental law is tricky. In our legal system, a human must be able to prove personal harm in order to have a workable case. With our current means, it is almost impossible to prove that you have been personally harmed by the incomprehensible pollution plaguing our planet.

It’s equally hard to prove that a sugary drink is the direct cause of your disease. If you have an overall unhealthy diet, you can’t reasonably say that Pepsi gave you diabetes.

How do you quantify the effects of widespread environmental destruction on an individual?

Trash pile in malaysia
A massive mountain of trash we exported to Malaysia so we don’t have to think about it.

How do you measure the sugar industry’s contributions to rampant obesity and disease?

Maybe we can put together a class-action lawsuit on behalf of everyone who’s life is impacted by their poisons.

Maybe in the future we’ll have a government that measures more than simple profit as a measure of economic success.

Maybe we’ll all snap out of our blissful ignorance and demand that everyone do more to save our planet.

Plastic never goes away. It just goes somewhere else. We’re slowly choking the planet, and by extension ourselves, with our dependence on these toxins.

Stop drinking soda

Soda is bad for you, and the bottles it comes in are bad for the environment.

It’s a good move for you and the planet to stop consuming soda.

If we take our dollars away from these companies, maybe that’s the wakeup call they need. The dollar reigns supreme in America.

Drink water instead. Just don’t buy it in plastic bottles.