Vox Civitatis the Sustainable City News weblog
05/24/2008: "Does This Make Sense?"Not that it ever did make sense, except in a narrow opportunistic way, but look at this picture--it is just a small sample of the truck-jams that occur at the stores across the street from our apartment more or less every day:
And what vital goods are these immensely heavy trucks carrying, at the cost of jamming taxpayer-built lanes, breaking up the asphalt, poisoning the air, destroying the climate, and depleting the world's oil supply?
Just look at the signs painted gaily on their sides: one is carrying Coca-Cola, that is, slightly flavored sugar water, dyed dark brown; the other is carrying--yes, fruit-flavored ice cubes!
The main cargo weight of the Coke truck is then plain water, which is delivered more effectively by pipe, and the glass bottles. The main cargo weight of the other truck is also water. Both trucks also carry fossil-fuel-powered generators to run their refrigeration systems.
Now, since people will drink silly stuff like Coke, wouldn't it make more sense to use lighter trucks making less-frequent deliveries of just the Coke syrups, to be made (as restaurants used to and perhaps still do) into Coke at the point of sale, and put into refillable glass bottles that are returned to the point of sale and washed there? It makes more sense than carting them about at great energy cost to and from bottling plants, or even melting them down in recycling plants to be made, at great energy cost, back into Coke bottles elsewhere. Ditto the flavored ice cubes--just ship the damned flavoring and make them in ice machines locally, with less energy waste!
Those two trucks in the photo represent the paradigmatic stupidity of our economic culture. We can do better than that.