Talk about the miracle of brilliant marketing: Did you know most bottled water is actually filtered municipal water? Put it in a pretty bottle, throw on a sexy label and mention something about a mountain spring, and we’re willing to shell out 2000 times the amount of money it costs for something we could get virtually free (from whence it came to begin with!) Eee-gads have we been hoodwinked!
I know, I know, there is something to be said for the convenience of a water bottle. There are times I’ve succumbed to the plastic – like when I pack the kids a goodie bag for a road trip and I know if I gave them one of my reusable bottles I’d never see it again! ( I have blind faith that the ‘recycle’ mantra I tried to program in them insures the bottle makes it into the bin.) The convenience sometimes trumps the cost. But the convenience of this addition to our throw-away lifestyle will never trump the actual costs of this scourge.
- Picture the water bottle 1/4 full of oil. That’s how much it took to manufacture, transport and distribute that single bottle.
- 1,000,000 cars for 1 year! That’s how much oil is used to produce the water bottles the U.S. uses each year. Drill, baby, drill?
- Americans buy approximately 35 BILLION water bottles each year, and we’re only recycling about 25% of them.
- Taxpayers pay hundreds millions of dollars each year in disposal and litter cleanup costs for the other 75%.
- 44% of all seabirds have been found with plastic in or around their bodies, often mistaking bits for food in one of the 5 great plastic garbage gyres in our oceans.
Most consumers probably assume that bottled water is better than what comes out of the tap. Actually, bottled water is LESS REGULATED than municipal water sources. None of the top 10 U.S. domestic bottled water brands even label specific water sources and treatment methods for their products. You can check your brand to see how it stacks up on the Environmental Working Group’s bottled water report card. (EWG is a great source for lots of consumer information on cosmetics, sunscreen, organics, etc. )
I know that water bottle with the beautiful island scene on the label is sexy to hold and makes you feel hip, but get over it! Do something good for your health, your wallet and the environment – turn on the faucet! Add a filter at home if it makes you feel better, I do.
And for the times that little bottle is just too hard to resist – REFILL and RECYCLE. Now if only they could figure out how to make a home filter that churns out light beer….
Stay green and healthy!
Image credit: Brian Smithson on Flickr.