With his booty in his hands, the diver emerges from the water.
"There it is, our little bottle is falling apart," he said, pointing to a bottle neck tearing to shreds.
Little by little, it divides into small pieces of plastic that go into the ocean, eaten by the fish.
This diver is Dimitri Lefebvre.
He volunteers for the Marseille association 1 Déchet par jour (@ 1PieceOfRubbish on social networks) and, that day, he gave us an appointment on the Catalans beach for a somewhat special garbage collection ...
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A few minutes earlier, on the ground and still wearing a parka, he was holding a garbage bag: "Human beings create a lot of waste," he explains.
They leave the city, they arrive on the beach and afterwards, they end up in the Mediterranean, the most polluted sea in the world.
We eat a beautiful fish, and with it the plastic that we ourselves threw away
And one of the most common garbage is the plastic water bottle.
And that of the Cristaline brand, the cheapest on the market and the most sold in France, is ubiquitous.
“Normally, the water flows directly from the tap but some people still buy products from manufacturers who love to bottle water in plastic… which we then find here”, continues Dimitri Lefebvre, pointing to a bottle of water from source which strews a small strip of greenery near the beach.
This same container, at different stages of decomposition, will be found several times at the bottom of the sea a few meters from the coast.
According to a figure from the World Economic Forum and the Ellen McArthur Foundation published in 2016, by 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish.
“If we don't get it back, it stays there forever,” continues the activist.
The fish will ingest this plastic;
afterwards, we go fishing for it;
we take a beautiful fish that we serve in a beautiful restaurant and we eat the plastic that we ourselves made and put on the beach before.
In order to raise public awareness, the 1 Déchet par jour association organizes numerous collections and events from April 22 to 25, under the Tarpin clean banner (tarpinpropre.com).
How about returnable glass bottles?
At the end of our land and underwater collection, the waste finds its recycling bins.
The plastic Cristaline bottle lands with the yellow bin packaging: doing this is elementary.
But on the shelves, are there some bottles that are ecologically better than others?
We asked for advice from Lise Nicolas, engineer and consultant, co-founder of Mr. and Mrs. Recycling (we recommend her very educational Instagram account).
“If you look under the Cristaline bottle, you will see a small triangular logo with the number 1 and the mention“ PET ”: this type of PET plastic bottle is the best recycled household waste in France.
Among the bottles that are collected, almost two thirds will be recycled.
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It could be better, but still a good point for the water bottle brand.
Next to it, in the shelf, the Vittel bears the same PET 1 logo but also, in addition, on the label, the words “100% recyclable”.
“Technically, it's completely recyclable,” says our specialist.
But in reality, the label, which is a flexible film, will not necessarily be recycled.
This packaging is in fact no more recyclable than Cristaline.
And what about the bottle from the same Vittel brand which broadly displays “Bottle 100% recycled material”?
“The bottle surely comes from the factories that have developed to make three other new bottles from four bottles.
Good point again.
But the root of the problem may lie elsewhere: “Personally, what bothers me a bit is that bottled water producers don't sell water, they sell plastic,” explains Lise Nicolas.
Drinking water in France is free from the tap and of very good quality.
Before returning from the supermarket empty-handed, we nonetheless showed the engineer a glass bottle of the Treignac brand: “Glass, that would really be more interesting if, in France, we had a deposit for the reuse of glass bottles. .
Today, they will be recycled: it's a bit of a shame because we will break them and reform them when their use is quite possible after washing.
"The best option is then the water bottle sold in the same department and signed by the Volvic brand:" It's the best, but you have to keep it as long as possible because, too, it has an environmental impact during its manufacture. .
If we change the bottle every week, it is of no interest.
And if you just wanted a well-thought-out container, what is the best option?
We did a test with a designer, a specialist in thoughtful objects.
Even blindfolded, Margaux Keller, the creator of Margaux Keller Collections, recognizes the Cristaline: "We have the impression that the plastic layer has been refined," she remarks.
And she sees it right: the label of this bottle mentions "Less plastic".
She continues, handling the bottle which deforms under the pressure of her hand: "Good point for the planet but bad point for the feeling."
"On the Vittel made of recycled material with a volume of two liters, it welcomes the shape of the handle which allows a better grip.
Then “we really have the gourd side, almost thermos,” she remarks, grabbing the third bottle, which is indeed an insulated flask, the best-selling model on Amazon.
And the last bottle, Treignac brand, in glass: “There is a very elegant side.
»In its classification, it is the glass bottle that comes first.
“I have a particular attachment to this material,” she explains.
But, in practice, if I had to recommend a product to the whole world, it would be the gourd.
Unless your health or the region where you live forbid you to consume tap water, the best bottle is definitely the gourd.