After getting acclimated in my new hotel room, I spent my first day in Shanghai learning about water. Just a fun fact, the Chinese character for water is 水 (Shuǐ). It symbolizes a stream with whirlpools on both sides. Because the tap water in China is not good for you, many people (particularly foreigners) rely on bottled water to stay hydrated.
Upon arrival, we were told that when it rains, we should take cover because our skin is not used to the quality of the water here. Due to the severe pollution in China, there is a high possibility that the acid rain will cause skin rashes.
At Nestle, we were walked through the factory and shown how water bottles are made. With our professional lab coats and steel-toed shoe covers, we were ready to walk the factory and learn how water bottles are manufactured.
My biggest takeaway from Nestle was the surprising discovery of how a plastic water bottle’s shape is produced. Prior to the tour, I foolishly imagined that there was some sort of a mold that liquid plastic was poured into. I thought maybe two halves of a bottle were left to solidify before being connected and re-melted together to create a closed container. Of course, in retrospect, I should have known that that couldn’t be possible since there would be a vertical seam where the bottle was joined.
In reality, it turns out every plastic water bottle starts off like this:
Machines take this plastic bottle containing a few PET granules and put it through a process called “pre-blowing” and “blowing” where it is heated, inflated, and shaped to its desired appearance.
They gave me 36 free bottles of water for visiting their factory! 🙂 Thanks, Nestle.