Why don’t we bottle our own water?

As requested by Michele (How did you know that this is one of my hot buttons?)

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The other day I saw something that was interesting to me. I saw a recycling container full of plastic water bottles that was sitting within a few feet of a water faucet and a refrigerator that dispensed cold filtered water. Why was this interesting to me? Because I am amazed at the amount of misinformation regarding bottled water and it’s effect on the environment.

I encourge you all to visit WWW.HOWSTUFFWORKS.COM and read this story on How Bottled Water Works.

I want to skip past the argument of whether bottled water is healthier because I will agree that outside of the US, bottled water can be healthier than drinking the water provided by municipal systems. However, the drinking water in America is perfectly safe and if you are worried about it, a consumer water filter often offers healthier water than that which is bottled and sold to us. But that’s another point for another time. I want to talk about the effects of plastic water bottles and recycling on the environment.

Consider this…

Plastic is made from oil. Over 1.5 million barrels of crude oil are used to make plastic water bottles in America every year.

Manufacturing plastic bottles requires energy that is often provided by fossil fuel burning sources.

Plastic manufacturing uses more water than the water placed in the water bottles. (Producing 1 kilogram of PET plastic requires 17.5 kilograms of water and results in air emissions of 40 grams of hydrocarbons, 25 grams of sulfur oxides, 18 grams of carbon monoxide, 20 grams of nitrogen oxides, and 2.3 kilograms of carbon dioxide. In terms of water use alone, much more is consumed in making the bottles than will ever go into them.) – Source

Delivery of manufactured water bottles to bottling plants requires trucks that burn oil.

Delivery of bottled water to retail locations also requires trucks burning irreplaceable fossil fuels.

Recycling requires oil because most recycling of plastic bottles ends up happening overseas, particularly in China. It takes oil to transport them there.

Delivery vehicle emissions pollute more water than they create. (Interesting tidbits – An explosion in a vehicle combustion chamber can actually create water, but it takes more fuel to make it than it’s worth to attempt on a large scale. When the Hindenburg exploded, water was formed as Hydrogen and Oxygen combined in the explosion.)

A “recycled” plastic bottle has far more virgin plastic in it than recycled plastic.

A “trashed” water bottle takes over 1000 years to degrade and when it does, it turns into harmful contaminates that endanger current water supplies. Bio-degradeable bottles are available, but are rarely used.

Water is basically a non-renewable resource. Fortunately it is one that filters and recycles itself through the environment.

So what can we do to help?

The easiest way is to simply drink water from the tap. You can dispense it into a bottle or any other container that doesn’t require recycling for future use. If you are afraid of contaminates in city water (many bottled water manufacturers use municipal water to fill the bottles), you can use a filtration system sold at many retailers.  Almost all newer refrigerators that dispense water use filters that cannot be bypassed.  I guess I should also mention that tap water is much less expensive than bottled water which is just good stewardship as well.

C’mon folks wadda ya say? Lets protect our environment even more by not creating more reasons to need recycling. From now on, I promise to make more of an effort to not drink bottled water because even I could be better about it.

We could also do what this guy did… (click on photo for story)

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~ by jtcrespo on February 12, 2008.

6 Responses to “Why don’t we bottle our own water?”

  1. preach it Jerry!

  2. Good job. You made me very proud on this post!!!

  3. Wow… that was quite a soapbox you got on there. I agree with you though…

    I am so guilty of grabbing a bottle of water.. it is just so much more convenient. I will try to use the tap water.. just for you.

  4. Is that top picture what the facility guys are going to look like now that we’re recycling?

  5. Jer… I’m with you on the bottled water thing… I think the bottled water we get here tastes like the plastic bottle that it is bottled in… I much prefer the water out of the fridges here and of course I love that crushed ice option!!!!!! Woo Hoo- crushed ice! Even when I go to starbucks, I don’t “buy” a bottle of water… I ask for that large, clear cup with water from their little filtered fountain! Yay for tap water- especially if you have a well…because it has some nutrients in it that you can really use (this is how it is done on the farm in SC- where you drink right out of the green garden hose)! Oh how I miss those days!

  6. Dear implant75 – If you happen by here again…

    I deleted your comments from here and took them to the front page to discuss. Thanks.

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