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This episode (recorded during IPCC report week, when our brains were mush) is all about bottles — family heirloom glass milk bottles and the modern-staple-turned-environmental-cliché of the plastic bottle.
We cover a little bit of everything: A visionary cartoonist who couldn’t imagine a future without the milkman. The rapid decline of milk delivery thanks to supermarkets, suburbs, and “modern” packaging. Dramatic commercials for the same product in returnable glass and convenient plastic.
Side trails include Phil of the Future, environmental justice narratives in television, and how maybe fossil fuels are the milkmen of right now?
Related episodes include: Episode 32 Got Milk? and Episode 35 Coca Cola and the Single-Use Mindset.
Story #1: Milk Bottles and the Milk Man (Elise)
Second Time Around: A Look at Bottle Reuse by Jane Busch, Western Reserve Historical Society
April 8, 1879: The Milkman Cometh … With Glass Bottles, Wired, April 2010
The Milkman’s Robot Helper, Smithsonian Magazine, March 2012
“Factory” Farms of the Future (1961), Paleofuture, May 2009
A History of The American Milkman, Food52
It’s All Arthur Radebaugh’s Fault, Know Ideas Media, April 2019
Closer Than We Think, Clindar, December 2017
Before the Jetsons, Arthur Radebaugh Illustrated the Future, Smithsonian Magazine, April 2012
The Day the Milkman Went Away: A History of Home Milk Delivery, Drink Milk In Glass Bottles
Story #2: Plastic Bottles (Olivia)
How the plastic bottle went from miracle container to hated garbage, National Geographic
From birth to ban, glass to plastic: A global history of bottled water, Mitte (which is a purified water company sort of like a mix between Soda Stream and a Brita filter)
Plastic Pollution and FAQ on Plastics, Our World In Data
1978 Pepsi 2-Litter glass bottle ad — returnable and refillable “the most economical way to buy Pepsi”
1978 Pepsi 2-Liter plastic bottle ad — tough and light
From Status Symbol to Despised Garbage – The Evolution of Bottled Water, Everything About on Youtube
Coca Cola packaging distribution, Statista
Coca Cola’s World Without Waste 2020 Report
The UK subsection of the Dasani Wikipedia is a drama-filled read, if you’re so inclined…
And check out Trace Material: Stories from the Plastics Age for a more in-depth look at the social history of plastic.
We’re watching a lot of Apple TV shows! Ted Lasso featured a climate justice storyline in a recent episode and Dickinson is serving up top notch cameos.
Meet Elise’s puppy Poe!
The World Is Burning bookshop is live! Help us come up with book list titles and bulk up our reading list.
Our World is Burning themed playlist is on Spotify.
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Thanks for listening!