Liquids Surrendered At Airport Security: Is There An Afterlife?

water bottlesEver looked at the mountain of liquids (or, in my case, that luscious, unopened jar of dulce de leche, and countless yogurts) accumulated at airport security and wondered where they end up? Yeah, me too. I’ve always hoped they go to charity and the water bottles recycled, because I have a bit of an idealist streak beneath my jaded exterior.

Our friend Andy Bender over at Forbes helped get to the bottom of this tricky question, and the answers are somewhat surprising. Rather than being palmed by greasy-haired or hungry TSA agents (cause for immediate termination), large airports divvy up the booty by category and dispose of it accordingly, although smaller volume airports may just lump it as trash.

If you lie awake nights pondering the fate of your spendy conditioner or lotion, here’s the breakdown:

  • Liquids are sorted by type (sunscreen, shampoo, alcohol, contact lens solution, etc.) and emptied into hazmat barrels, which are then collected by waste management companies. They’re disposed of according to environmental regulations (Forbes reports that “water-based solutions are sent to a waste water treatment facility or waste energy recovery facility aka trash-to-stream plant.”
  • Alcohol ends up being treated at fuel-blending facilities because it’s flammable.
  • Large quantities of bottles are “chipped” and recycled, but not smaller volumes, which go to the landfill.

For more information on current regulations taking liquids in carry-on, click here. And here’s a tip: by carrying a refillable water bottle, you help reduce the 1.5 million barrels of oil required for U.S. plastic water bottle production each year.

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[Photo credit: Flickr user stevendepolo]

SkyMall Monday: Toothpaste Tablets

gadling skymall monday toothpaste tabletsThe restrictions that the TSA places on liquids in our carry-on luggage are frustrating for everyone. How are we supposed to pack all of our lotions, creams, ointments, salves, balms, rinses and sprays in a single one-quart baggie (without getting sneaky)? Looking good isn’t easy and requires tremendous amounts of upkeep. This is particularly true when it comes to oral hygiene. Packing handfuls of travel-sized tubes of toothpaste is inconvenient and wasteful. Extracting every last drop of paste from the tubes is a fruitless endeavor (we use a vise here at SkyMall Monday HQ). You’d think that, in 2012, we’d have come up with a better way to clean our teeth. Well, the future is now, thanks to the geniuses at SkyMall (and their friends at Archtek). Stop squeezing your toothpaste when you can just pop it…with a Toothpaste Tablet!For years, we’ve longed for the day when our lives would truly be simplified by science. We were teased with glimpses of a magical future in which our meals are ingested in pill form or through chewing gum. Finally, the time has come for toothpaste technology to lead us to a higher state of being. No more tubes filled with silly looking gels. Like all of our problems before, the solution resides in a pillbox.

Think that you can’t have toothpaste without the paste? Believe that we’re becoming a pill-popping society? Well, while you use your pickle-flavored floss, we’ll be reading the product description:

These great tasting, chewable Toothpaste Tablets aren’t liquid or paste, so they can be carried on planes in your 3-1-1-kit. Lightweight, compact and convenient, just chew one tablet, brush, and rinse for the same benefits as traditional toothpaste.

You know what else can be carried in your 3-1-1- kit? Liquids and pastes. But those aren’t very futuristic, so what’s the fun in that? It’s about time someone dried out toothpaste into a tablet and allowed us to rehydrate it in our mouths so that we can perform a task that was never that much of a challenge previously. It’s like Dippin’ Dots for oral hygiene. And look how well things worked out for the “ice cream of the future.”

So the next time you’re taking your hoverboard on a long trip, leave the tubes at home. Just pack your Toothpaste Tablets and your future’s teeth will be so bright, you’ll have to wear shades.

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.

Travel-sized everything: 3floz.com

Bag of liquids.3floz.com is a new website featuring the best of what comes in a TSA-approved size.

The site is a collaboration between two travelers with 11 years of experience in the beauty industry, Kate Duff and Alexi Mintz. They used to travel together, and Kate would check a bag with all her beauty products, whereas Alexi would carry her bags on — and then have to borrow Kate’s stuff. This wasn’t an ideal situation, and the two spent hours scouring beauty websites looking for 3oz versions of their favorite products. They didn’t exist.

And so, 3floz.com was born, with a brand list including Air Repair, Anthony for Men, The Art of Shaving, Avalon Organics, Go Smile, and Yes to Carrots. The products range from shampoos and moisturizers to teeth whiteners and facial serums for men and women.

As a frequent traveler myself, I’m delighted to see all this great stuff in one place — I frequently find myself relying on the hotel shampoo and conditioner, even their lotion. Some hotels in Europe don’t even offer conditioner. What is up with that?

The 3floz ladies add that these products can also go in your purse, your locker at the gym or school, your work bag and your car (I would add to that your boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s house). Tiny bottles of your favorite beauty and grooming necessities are helpful. Good thinking, Kate and Alexi.

If you shop at 3floz today or tomorrow (February 9 & 10) and use the code STYLEHOUSE, you’ll get 10 percent off your first purchase. Go there.

With a little luck, 3floz.com may help you avoid the following horror stories from the airport checkpoint…

Man chugs a litre of vodka in airport line-up

You know those new regulations that prohibit you from taking liquids on a plane? They can be near fatal for a vodka lover, according to this story: Recently, a man at the Nuremberg Airport almost died from alcohol poisoning when he downed a litre of vodka because he was told he’d either have to get rid of it or pay a fee to have his bag checked as cargo. He chugged the potent liquid in a matter of minutes (the mere thought of this makes me gag) and almost instantly, he was unable to stand or even function, at which point police and medical officials were called.

Um, yeah, that’s one way of getting rid of the vodka, but you know, sometimes it’s best to just suck it up and pay the fee, you know? Darwin awards, anyone?

The man was coming home to Dresden from a holiday in Europe, and is expected to make a full recovery.