Thursday, July 19, 2007

Day Twenty-Four - I Gotta Problem With The Bottle

No More Bottled Water

Let's forget the fact that bottled water is most likely not any safer or cleaner than your tap water. Let's forget the fact that bottled water companies are depleting our natural resources at an alarming rate. Let's forget the fact that those bottles of water are generally shipped and trucked all over God's green earth to arrive at your doorstep. Let's forget all of that and just concentrate on the waste produced by those plastic bottles.

Did you know that the average American consumes over nineteen gallons of bottled water per year? That also equates to over 28 BILLION single-serve bottles of water per year. Don't ask me how, but 80% of the bottles end up as litter, go into a landfill or are incinerated each year. A scant 20% are recycled - and even those lucky few don't get to become new bottles. They are most likely turned into carpet or fleece or something else that will not be recycled. In effect, they aren't so much "recycled" as they are "downcycled".

I don't personally drink much bottled water - maybe 2 liters a month - I'll pick up an occasional liter at a gas station if I'm driving about and thirsty. But that's about it. However, I used to drink a lot of bottled water when I had a well. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who would love to drink their tap water but aren't sure how safe it is, or aren't happy with the taste. Here's some tips to help you avoid those single serve bottles and still get the clean, good tasting water you want:

  1. Get Tested - If you're truly concerned about the safety of your water, spend the $15 or so and get it tested. Start by contacting your state certification officer to get the name of a lab that can perform the test for you.

  2. Get a Filter - If you discover your water has contaminants, or even if it's safe but unsavory, you might be able to fix the problem by installing a water treatment product of some sort. Check out this page at the NSF which helps you select a home treatment water device.

  3. Go for The Gold - If you absolutely can't stand your tap water, go all the way and get a water cooler for use. You'll waste less water because you'll only dispense out what you need. Also, most of these water delivery companies actually sanitize and refill the water coolers (if you're unsure, you should ask!)


If the average American could just cut their consumption of single-serve water bottles in half, we would save 11 BILLION plastic bottles from ending up in the landfills - or worse.

Difficulty - 1 out of 5

Easy for me, but understandably more difficult for others. Let me know how you do.


Brian said...

Just a comment about plastic packaging (including that used in water bottles)...

From the ”You Can” strip on the Contra Costa Times comic pages, Jax Place ends with a P.S.: "Companies that use plastics that aren’t really recycled sometimes collect these plastics to make us feel good. It’s more about marketing than taking care of the planet."

If you like a product but not the packaging, contact the manufacturer and complain. Web sites and 800 numbers are listed on the package. If they don’t take the hint, the government should step in and set recyclable packaging standards.

leslie said...

I am going to post about this artist. You MUST look at his art. Intolerable Beauty is amazing/horrible, and the Running the Numbers will astound.