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  • Plastic, Is There Nothing It Can’t Do?

    Posted by Shannon Love on May 14th, 2010 (All posts by )

    Wow, cheap, low-tech water sterilizers from disposable plastic bottles.

    Better yet, it was discovered by locals instead of rich Westerners riding in on their white horse to save the poor little brown people.

    In case you’re wondering, no, you can’t do this with glass bottles because glass is opaque to UV light. (Which is why you can ride in a car without getting a sunburn.)

    This would be a good technique to tuck away in your mental “just in case” file. If the fecal matter ever does impact the ventilation impeller, you could save lives by remembering that you can sterilize water with a transparent plastic bottle and a sheet of aluminum foil.


    5 Responses to “Plastic, Is There Nothing It Can’t Do?”

    1. sol vason Says:

      6 hour wait in the African sun suggests low temperature pastuerization might take place inside a clear plastic bottle with the cap on.

    2. Shannon Love Says:

      Sol Vasson,

      I think the fact that the water has to largely clear suggest that the primary mechanism is UV sterilization. The heat probably helps but there are a lot a dangerous bugs, cholera for example, that often survive cooking so I doubt that the heat is a primary mechanism.

    3. Michael Kennedy Says:

      Cholera survives cooking ? What temperature?

    4. Bill Waddell Says:

      “Plastics, Is There Nothing It Can’t Do?”

      Yes – it has one critical weakness. You cannot store beer in plastics containers because the same effect that sterlizes water ruins the beer. This is a deal breaker, IMHO, rendering plastic far from a perfect material.

    5. Shannon Love Says:

      Michael Kennedy,

      Cholera survives cooking ? What temperature?

      Anything sub-boiling.