Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bottled Water is Evil

Buying bottled water in a country with safe drinking water like the US is pretty ridiculous. If you're traveling in India, okay fine. My solution has always been to carry a trusty and refillable (not to mention unbreakable) Nalgene bottle.

Bottled water is a symbol of wastefulness. To illustrate, here are ten interesting (and somewhat scary) facts about bottled water:
  1. An estimated 25 percent or more of bottled water is really just tap water in a bottle - sometimes further treated, sometimes not. –
  2. Drinking bottled water is 1000 (one thousand!) times more expensive than drinking tap water.
  3. In a study conducted by Showtime television, the hosts found that 75% of tested New York City residents actually preferred tap water over bottled water in a blind taste test. –
  4. Bottling and shipping water is the least efficient method of water delivery ever invented. The energy we waste using bottled water would be enough to power 190,000 homes. –
  5. The Earth Policy Institute estimates that making the plastic for water bottles [consumed annually] burns up something like 1.5 million barrels of oil, enough to power 100,000 cars for a year. –
  6. Nearly 90 percent of water bottles are not recycled. -
  7. Bottled water is actually much less regulated than tap water. There are a number of studies which found arsenic, disinfection byproducts and bacteria in bottled water. –, quoting Gina Solomon.
  8. 30 million water bottles are thrown away every day, and each one of them takes 1000 years to biodegrade. –
  9. In one case, bottled water labeled as "Alaska Premium Glacier Drinking Water: Pure Glacier Water from the Last Unpolluted Frontier" was actually drawn from Public Water System #111241 in Juneau. –
  10. Buying one gallon's worth of bottled water is three times more expensive than buying one gallon of gasoline. –

Okay, so if all that wasn't enough to convince you not to buy bottled water, consider that the shipping of bottled water burns A LOT of fossil fuels and results in the release of thousands of tons of harmful emissions. Not to mention the energy used to filter, process, and refrigerate.

What to do? Some tips for alternatives to buying bottled water :

  • If your tap water isn't ideal, get a filter for your tap or a Brita filter for your fridge.
  • Refill glass or durable plastic containers with filtered water.
  • For parties or events, use pitchers or water dispensers that you can use over and over again. Provide reusable cups instead of disposables, and if you must use disposables, get the recyclable ones.

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