Things: Bottled Water, French Fries, E-Waste

Bottled water is drinking water (e.g., well water, distilled water, mineral water, or spring water) packaged in plastic or glass water bottles. Bottled water may be carbonated or not. Sizes range from small single serving bottles to large carboys for water coolers.

Chapter 15 explores the rise of the bottled water industry over the last few decades in terms of its causes and consequences. The risk perception and political economy approaches are used to explain how bottled water use and its environmental consequences vary by location and level of affluence.

Bottled Water slides here.

Paul Robbins, John Hintz, and Sarah A. Moore, Environment & Society: A Critical Introduction (2nd edition), Chapter 15.

Notes & Links:

All about the water from our campus sulfur spring, part of the mid-19th-century commodification of spring water in the US. Recall that what is now Elliott Hall was built as the Mansion House Hotel, adjacent to the sulfur spring. I have not been able to find out if water from the spring was ever bottled and sold, but it was consumed by hotel guests.

The Ohio Medical and Surgical Journal …, Volume 9; Volume 11, 1857

DELAWARE SPRINGS.

The result of the analysis of the “Sulphur Springs,” at Delaware Ohio, made by Prof.H. Mitchel, of Kenyon College, as published by the proprietor of the springs, is as follows:

One hundred grains of the deposit obtained by evaporating several gallons of water, contained,

48 grams: Muriate of Soda, (common salt)
20 grams: Muriate of Lime
16 grams: Sulphate of Magnesia,(Epsom salts)
08 grams: Sulphate of Lime
05 grams: Carbonate of Lime
03 grams: Loss
Solid contents = 100 grams

And one wine pint contained,
Sulphuretted Hydrogen Gas, 12 cubic inches
Carbonic Acid Gas 3 cubic inches

This water, [Delaware,] it seems owes its active medicinal virtues chiefly to the very large quantities of Muriate of Soda, and Sulphate of Magnesia it contains; and no better means of relief can be afforded in diseases dependent upon plethora, with its various manifestations, than the judicious use of mineral waters of this class, which promote copious secretions from the bowels without irritation, and not only afford relief, as purgatives, but they act as deobstruents and alteratives, and are supposed by some, to imitate very closely, the critical evacuations that sometimes occur in the progress of disease relieving congestion of the mucous membranes, the liver, etc., without occasioning the commotion incident to the use of drastic purgatives.

The well-known celebrity that the water of these springs has acquired, since Prof. Mitchell’s analysis, is ample proof of its efficacy as a remedial agent.


French fries, or simply fries, chips, finger chips or french-fried potatoes, are batonnet or allumette-cut deep-fried potatoes.

Chapter 16 takes the French fry as its object of concern and views the health and environmental concerns associated with its consumption. Specifically, this chapter views French fries through the risk and hazards, political economy, and ethics perspectives.

French Fry slides here.

Paul Robbins, John Hintz, and Sarah A. Moore, Environment & Society: A Critical Introduction (2nd edition), Chapter 16.

Notes & Links:


formerly beloved E-junk everwhere.

Chapter 17 takes electronic waste, or e-waste, as its object of concern. E-waste presents a difficult puzzle because poor and marginalized communities suffer the health and environmental consequences of e-waste rather than the wealthier consumers of electronic devices, yet many do benefit from the treatment of e-waste as a tradable commodity or resource for raw materials. E-waste is thus viewed in this chapter from the Risk and Hazards (Chapter 6), Markets and Commodities (Chapter 3), and Political Economy (Chapter 7) perspectives.

E-Waste slides here.

A New Generation of Students Is Teaching Us How to Reduce E-Waste
In colleges and universities across the United States, students are taking classes on how to repair our electronics that normally end up as e-waste.

Paul Robbins, John Hintz, and Sarah A. Moore, Environment & Society: A Critical Introduction (2nd edition), Chapter 17.

Notes & Links:

 Agbogbloshie, Ghana (source)

eWaste World Wide Trade & Movement