1,825 Plastic Bottles.. Just Awful


When I was little having a soda was completely out of the question. So was most other heavily processed foods and particularly sugary items. Putting an entire American-childhood category of food off limits made it something of a sinfully delicious indulgence when some of the fizzy high-fructose-corn-syrup confection did come my way. And as I became a teenager and was able to make my own decisions, it grew into a full blown addiction.

I used to think that downing at least two Cokes a day was no big deal. A cavity here or there sure, but no big deal. Right? Well, probably not right. At the height of my insomnia in college I was drinking a two-liter per day of the sugary stuff. And worse, to circumvent the weight problems that habit brought about, I made a switch over to Diet Coke in 2004. That may have been the worst idea of my life. Ever since Diet Coke has been an absolute mainstay in my diet and has done nothing for my bones, my teeth, or my conscience when it comes to the environment.

One two-liter plastic bottle per day is a number so shocking over a five year span that when I tallied it up in January I actually became physically ill. PHYSICALLLY ILL! And what is the number? Well, I estimate that in five years I’ve generated a staggering 1,825 plastic two-litre bottles. Which says nothing of the aluminum cans, 20 oz bottles, or other sources of fizz that I’ve consumed along the way.

It doesnt matter that the vast majority of those bottles made it into the recycling stream from my kitchen. Its an unacceptably gigantic number for someone like myself – who passionately wants to avoid drowning the ocean in plastic debris.

And so, after considering all the facts (and reading some very interesting if not a bit eccentric blogs like Sugar Shock! and Killer Coke) I gave up Diet Coke cold turkey two weeks ago. No ifs ands or buts, no weaning off, none of that sissy stuff.

I won’t lie… I wanted to die those first three days. But after two weeks cold turkey with no soda I have to report that so far I just don’t miss it. I’m going to guess that my bones and teeth do not miss the phosphoric acid and I’ve had friends ask if I started using teeth whitening strips. (I haven’t changed anything up, its just a lack of caramel coloring.)

Hopefully this blog won’t come across as me preening over my personal success but its a definite challenge to present to each of you: do you have an unhealthy habit – for yourself and for the oceans – that you should consider giving up or scaling down?

2 Comments to “1,825 Plastic Bottles.. Just Awful”

  1. I have been drinking between 8-12 cans of diet soda a day for the last 5 years or more. I often go many days without ingesting any other liquid (never drink water.) I have been depressed, tired, felt very weak and.or stiff, with some headaches.
    I haven’t had a soda today – and I’m stunned at how bad I feel – terrible headache and fatiuge.
    I’m done for know – it seems silly but it’s true I’ve been hooked all these years.
    Thanks for the good/expiring talk above.

  2. Hi Tim: best of luck with stamping out soda! Its now been a full month since I’ve had any fizzy drinks and I feel great! Its truly crazy how much it impacted me. My next goal is to begin to limit white sugar in my diet. Which will probably take many months to accomplish. But, it takes thirty days to break or build a habit, right? Stick with it!