I’m going to start doing a quick post every Tuesday about a small change we can all make that can add up to a big positive impact on the environment or our health or something else. ‘Taking Care’ can mean so many different things – but today I am talking about the environment.
Last night we were at a Marching Band banquet for our kids, featuring tables of snacks and desserts, coffee and water. When I was young, there would have been large coolers, one with juice and the other ice water with paper cups for coffee and cold drinks. But now, there were coolers of bottled water. And when we were leaving and taking care of our trash, I saw way too many water bottles in the trash – even though they have big recycle buckets right alongside the trash bins (THAT is a separate rant).
So we end up with loads of plastic in landfills or at recycling centers.
But wait – didn’t we also have paper plates, paper coffee cups and plastic utensils? Sure, and they are also an issue that we should try to minimize. But I have noted that people are better about making multiple use of plates at these events, whereas water bottles are ‘one and done’.
Now runners and others who exercise have a particular need for portable hydration – but for many that means buying a case of water bottles and tossing one in their gym bag. It is irresponsible and inexcusible – you know what you need and where you are going: buy a water bottle and refill it.
I have heard the ‘but I recycle’ argument again and again. Guess what? That might help with reducing plastic in landfills somewhat, but it doesn’t change the massive amount of oil, energy and plastic used. As noted here, “roughly 1.5 million tons of plastic are expended in the bottling of 89 billion liters of water each year.”
When you think about how much a case of water costs compared to buying a decent BPA-free insulated water bottle, the return on invest comes within a couple of trips to the market.
Don’t buy the bottle. Millions of tons of plastic are used to produce billions of plastic water bottles each year. Save money and lessen waste by drinking tap water from a reusable water bottle. Worried about your health? Try a water filter, or take courage from the fact that a lot of bottled water is likely no better than what’s on tap.
And while the FDA is still working on cracking down on labeling misinformation, many water bottles carry words like ‘pure’, ‘spring water’ and more that are at best misleading. In general what comes out of a bottle is no better than tap water, something proven in study after study:
The Natural Resources Defense Council, which carried out a four-year review of the bottled water industry, concluded “there is no assurance that just because water comes out of a bottle, it is any cleaner or safer than water from the tap.”
The New York City-based action group added that an estimated 25 percent of bottled water is “really just tap water in a bottle—sometimes further treated, sometimes not.”
And if you are really concerned, get a Brita pitcher or one of those filters that attaches to your tap, or a refridgerator that dispenses filtered water.
Look at the costs:
– Huge expenditure of natural resources
– Cost of water bottles
– Environmental impact of landfills
And realizing there is NO benefit … it is TIME to make the change. Make a resolution to ditch the disposible water bottle use in your life.