Reusable vs Disposable Water Bottles

Written by ryan. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on August 24, 2010 with No Comments

Reusable vs. Disposables: Bottled Water

During the hot summer months it is of the utmost importance to stay hydrated. Many find it convenient to grab a cold bottle of water out of the fridge or from the nearest vending machine. But are we considering the costs? The costs add up quickly, and I am not only talking about the costs to our billfold, but also to our environment. The truth is that bottled water is not safer, better tasting or even more convenient than tap water – it is certainly not cheaper – and it generates massive amounts of needless waste.

Nearly 90 percent of water bottles are not recycled but instead thrown away, resulting in up to 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year. According to Food and Water Watch, that plastic requires up to 47 million gallons of oil per year to produce, while transporting these bottles burns even more oil. The growth in bottled water production has increased water extraction in areas near bottling plants, leading to water shortages that affect nearby consumers and farmers. In addition to the millions of gallons of water used in the plastic-making process, two gallons of water are wasted in the purification process for every gallon that goes into the bottles.

Bottled water in the United States falls under the regulatory authority of the Food and Drug Administration. Seventy percent of all bottled water never crosses state lines for sale, making it exempt from FDA oversight. On the other hand, tap water is regulated under more stringent quality standards by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The reality is that when drinking tap water you will be drinking water that is just as safe as, or safer than, bottled. In fact, an estimated third of all bottled water is really just tap water in a bottle.

Consider the value of bottled water and the numbers just do not add up. At a typical cost of $3.79 per gallon, bottled water is 1,900 times the cost of public tap water. Consumers are paying up to 1,000 times the cost of production for bottle water.

So, on the next hot summer day that you are longing for a cool drink of ice cold water, forego the bottle and reach for the tap. If, however, you do not like the taste of your tap water or are unsure of its quality, you can buy a filter pitcher or install an inexpensive faucet filter to remove trace chemicals and bacteria. If you will be away from home, fill a reusable bottle from your tap and refill it along the way; travel bottles with built-in filters are also available. Not only will you be taking steps to improve your quality of life, but by using refillable and reusable bottles you will be improving the quality of everyone’s environment.

Deanna Garner is a graduate of Ball State University with a degree in geology. Garner is in her fifth year working as Education Coordinator for the Recycling & Waste Reduction District of Porter County. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and inspiring others to live more sustainable. For more information or to reach Garner, e-mail DGarner@ItMeansTheWorld.org

This article was supplied by Deanna Garner. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of The Chronicle staff.

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