The following post is from Emily of Live Renewed:
Americans drink around 50 billion bottles of water per year.
Around 5000 water bottles are thrown away every second!
The effects of our consumption of bottled water are much farther-reaching than we may have ever expected. From the communities that are affected by the large corporations that come in to harvest their water, to the towns were the plastic water bottles are manufactured, to ocean animals who have to live with our Texas-sized plastic garbage dump polluting their habitat.
Drinking water from plastic water bottles has both environmental and health impacts to consider.
There are many reasons to ditch disposable water bottles and switch to using a reusbale water bottle filled with water from your own home — here are just a few.
You pay more for a gallon of water than you do for a gallon of gas.
It costs companies about 6 to 8 cents to bottle a gallon of water, which they then turn around and sell for 6 dollars, or more, per gallon. For beverage corporations, selling bottled water is extremely lucrative.
We get frustrated at the gas pump when we see the prices rising, hitting $3 and even $4 per gallon in some parts of the country. So why would we pay $6 or more per gallon for water, which most of us can get for free or very cheap from our own taps?
The average cost of municipal water is around 1 cent per gallon, so the price of bottled water alone is enough reason to stop drinking bottled water.
The quality and purity of bottled water is unknown.
Despite the advertising and marketing that leads us to believe that bottled water comes from a pure and pristine spring in the middle of the mountains, the bottled water industry actually is not regulated or tested in the same way that municipal water systems are, so you have no guarantee of the quality or purity of the water you are drinking.
In fact, as much as 40 percent of bottled water is really just filtered tap water that’s been bottled and packaged to make us think that is purer and cleaner than our own tap water.
If you look at the labels on many brands of bottled water they will tell you if the water is simply purified tap water.
3. Carbon Footprint
Water is bottled in #1 plastic, or PET.
PET plastic, or Polyethylene terephthalate, is a petroleum byproduct, and the production of this plastic for water bottles requires more than 17 million barrels of oil, enough to fuel 100,000 cars. (source)
Besides the implications of using that much of a non-renewable resource just for bottles that we can drink water out of, the production of this plastic also releases toxic chemicals that have harmful effects on the people and communities where the oil refineries are located.
Plastic bottles may leach chemicals into the water.
Although PET plastic is considered safe, for the most part, the problem is that the amount and types of chemicals that are leached from the plastic bottles into the water are mostly unknown and untested.
Studies by the National Resource Defense Council have shown that chemicals called phthalates, which are hormone disruptors and can cause adverse reproductive outcomes (and something I’m trying to avoid in my personal care products), can leach into the water bottled in plastic bottles when they are stored for a long period. (source)
Plastic water bottles create waste.
Even though #1 PET plastic is one of the most recyclable plastics, it doesn’t mean that all plastic made from PET is actually recycled. In fact, between 80-90 percent of plastic water bottles are trashed, but not necessarily in the landfill.
By now I think we’ve all seen pictures or heard about the Great Pacific Trash Vortex – the area in the Pacific Ocean that may be twice the size of Texas, filled with plastic and other types of trash. This plastic garbage dump is not just out of sight, out of mind because it is in the middle of the ocean.
The plastic waste effects the ecosystem and the marine life, and eventually it will come back to effect us.
As the plastic breaks down in the water, the toxic chemicals are released into the ocean, fish and other animals are not only eating the plastic, but also affected by the chemicals. The plastics and chemicals get into the food chain, and we are at the top of that food chain – the ones who put the plastics there to begin with.
How to Reduce Your Use of Plastic Water Bottles
If you’ve been accustomed to drinking water out of plastic bottles these three easy steps will help you ditch the disposable bottles and save you tons of money!
1. Invest in a stainless steel water bottle.
Purchase a reusable and refillable stainless steel water bottle (not aluminum!). Some great brands are Kleen Kanteen or EcoUsable. Stainless steel is safe and durable and won’t leach chemicals into your water.
Although the price of a stainless steel water bottle may seem a little steep at first, consider the amount that you will be saving by using a reusable water bottle.
If you drink just one bottle of bottled water a day, let’s say at one dollar per bottle, you will save yourself 30 dollars in a month, more than paying for the cost of your stainless steel bottle!
2. Invest in a water filter for your home.
Even though tap water is more regulated and better tested than bottled water, there are still things in our tap water that we would probably rather not be drinking.
Filter your tap water using a activated carbon water filter, like a Brita or PUR, to help remove contaminants in the water and improve it’s taste and odor.
3. Keep it With You
Drink your filtered water at home, and fill your reusable bottle every time you leave the house. This step is about breaking the habit of being dependent on plastic water bottles for drinking.
Make a conscious effort to drink a glass of water while you are home, and make sure to fill your reusable water bottle before leaving so you won’t be stuck without water to drink and resort to buying a bottle of water.
Create a Habit
As you change your habits from drinking bottled water to using and refilling your water bottle, you will find it becomes second nature to filter your water at home and fill up your water bottle before leaving the house.
You will save so much money by drinking water from your own tap and will be helping to save the environment by keeping plastic water bottles from being produced, shipped across the country to be sold, and ending up in our landfills and oceans.
Are you a bottled water drinker? Will you make the commitment to ditch disposable plastic water bottles?
|Emily McClements is passionate about living with compassion and caring for creation in a way that will impact the world. She is a blessed wife and mama to three young children, and blogs about her family’s journey toward natural and simple living at Live Renewed.|