Aug. 2nd, 2009

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My soul got stabbed today when I read a press release for a disposable, single-use baby bottle. No, really- this isn't a joke. Apparently someone though there wasn't enough waste in the world.

Feel free to peruse the product website, but I'll sum up for you. Once upon a time, there was a guy who left his kid's bottle at home. Instead of thinking, "Damn, I need to come up with a system so I don't forget my kid's stuff at home", this tool thought what most rabid American consumers might think: "Why isn't there a disposable version of everything I might need readily available for my immediate consumption?" So he makes a prototype of a pre-filled, single use bottle and off he goes into marketing land.

If that weren't enough, he has attempted to hide this trash-heap-enhancing frankinproduct* in the cloak of humanitarian aid:

"4. Infiltrate the humanitarian market. Last year there were hundreds of disasters worldwide which rendered part or all of a country without drinking water. Thousands of impoverished infants die each year because there is no clean water available for them. The Ready Made Bottle is the perfect solution for this dilemma. It has a shelf life of 15 months and can be shipped anywhere in the world." (from the product website's goal list)

Now, if you're not thinking critically (i.e. you're like most sleep-deprived, zombie parents), this might sound like a nice idea. But when you really analyze what's being said, it sounds more like:

Our goal is to sell this heap to whomever will pay us. Some fat cat will shell out big money so we can send this overseas to "those people", making them dependent on our product. Because, you know, sending them plain old, boring, clean water would just be silly. And heaven forbid we deny ourselves this marketing opportunity in favor of encouraging women to feed babies with their boobs. Who does that anymore?

And they're not messing around. Later in the "tour", you'll find this militant mission statement:

"We will not stop until the Ready Made Bottle is in every major food store in the United States and we have significantly penetrated the worldwide humanitarian market."

Infiltrating... penetrating... sounds like war to me. War on what? War on a sustainable(ish) lifestyle that doesn't needlessly pollute the planet? War on the evils of not having everything your way, right away regardless of your inability to think ahead? War on having to change your plans or *gasp* go without for half an hour?

"Our society is leaning towards safety and convenience. Our food is being securely packaged and scrutinized for bacteria like never before. Shouldn’t the most common food source for infants be as safe as the food their parents eat?

The most common source for infant food is breasts. (full stop)

As far as the "scrutinized for bacteria" bit is concerned, yes- it's true that our food is heated, irradiated, and genetically modified to reduce bacteria. It's also true that there hasn't been a whole lot of hard science showing all these measures are beneficial to us, and there are a growing number of studies saying this modified freakfood is potentially harmful. Formula may be sterile, but breastmilk is a living food that tweaks its composition to meet the needs of the baby and is loaded with antibodies to help build a healthy immune system. As far as safety goes, a formula labeled "sterile" wouldn't necessarily be safe from industrial contaminants like melamine.

Nobody needs this product. It is a choice based in laziness that pollutes our planet and supports the frantic BUY BUY BUY pace of American capitalism. To disguise it as a humanitarian solution is disingenuous. The disposabottle "will be sold in stores throughout the East Coast and be available to global humanitarian markets beginning in 2010." It will be interesting to see the market response to this trash-in-the-making.

* no info yet on the formula's nutritional value, but we all know that (like most things), the imitation is never as good as the real deal.

ETA: a fabulous comic from Mama Is... which sums it up perfectly: http://www.mama-is.com/humanitarian/

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