Saturday, February 20, 2010

Olympics Day #4: Capitalism and The Plastic Bottle

Transportation Day #4
2 Skytrains
2 City Buses
2 Olympic Buses (the nice ones with bathrooms – perfect for kids!)

An awesome day at Cypress Mountain for the Ladies Halfpipe Snowboarding! There was enough snow for the event, but that was about it - they trucked in just enough snow for the halfpipe and snow/skicross area. They are starting to refer to these as the Spring Olympics - it was so warm people were actually wearing tank tops early in the day!

The amount of plastic bottles that are being consumed at these Olympics must be in the millions. The recycling bins are easy to find, but all the Dasani water bottles I’ve been purchasing this week have left me questioning the corporate influence on our choices here.

We knew in advance we wouldn’t be able to bring water bottles or food into the indoor Olympic venues, but had also read they would be allowed at the outdoor mountain venues. The rules, however, seem to be a bit more murky than that. Dasani water bottles can get by security if they are factory-sealed (meaning no refilling and no bringing your own from home).

Originally, I thought it was a concern over alcohol, but there is plenty of Canadian beer at the venues! I think it comes down to the money flow. I saw one woman finish her water bottle at the security stop, only to be told that to take the empty water bottle into the venue, she would have to remove the label! Dasani is a Coca-Cola product and her bottle was a competitor to one of the biggest Olympics sponsors.

Since snowboarding was a 6+ hour event in the mountains, we came prepared – water bottles we had filled at the hotel, Coke Zero, snacks, etc. When we went through security, we were told that we would need to empty all the liquids. We dumped the water, and my husband quickly drank the Coke Zero (all the while wondering why that can was a problem – perhaps because he didn’t pay $3 for it?). Of course, a few hours later we were back at concessions buying $3 water all over again.
I guess my objection is to buying it all in the first place when there are other alternatives. Coke is actively pitching their new bottles which are made out of 30% plant material. Good idea, but what if we just bought less bottles in the first place? I know, I know… that’s not the way of capitalism. Personally, I just wish they had refill spots where you could pay the vendor and fill your own bottle.

Recycling issues aside, the snowboarding was amazing! The grandstands were quite the athletic feat for spectators as it was 350 steps straight up to get to our seats - and that was after a healthy walk from the bus to the mountain. The best part for me was seeing the Slovenian snowboarder come sit with her family (on her mom’s lap!) right in front of us while she waited to find out if she made it into the finals. She made it and we cheered her on! We also met one of the Japanese snowboarders who posed for a picture with us.
Seeing them flip, jump, and fly makes you wonder if they weren’t born with wings.

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