[R-G] [BillTottenWeblog] Don't Drink the (Bottled) Water

Bill Totten shimogamo at attglobal.net
Wed Jul 2 18:47:31 MDT 2008

by Stephen McKean

http://culturechange.org (June 23 2008)

At long last, it looks like our two-decade affair with the disposable
water bottle may finally be coming to an end. With increasing media
attention being paid to the environmental impact of all those plastic
bottles, as well as increased scrutiny of the perceived superiority of
bottled water, it is now becoming the hip, eco-friendly thing to tote
your own reusable bottle filled with good old-fashioned tap water.

Jenny Powers, a spokesperson for the Natural Resources Defense Council,
says that the disposable plastic bottle has become a sort of poster a
child of environmental degradation.

"Roughly seventy percent of water bottles - probably more - wind up in
landfills or incinerators", Jenny says, noting that recycling rates for
plastic bottles are far lower than for other beverage containers (due to
the on-the-go nature of the product, and also because of deposit-return
laws that were enacted before the advent of the plastic bottle). That
appallingly high figure takes on an even more frightening aspect when
you consider that we Americans consume fifty billion plastic bottles per
year. "That's 170 bottles per year for every man, woman and child in
America", Jenny says.

Factor in the energy needed to make all those bottles, as well as the
energy required to ship them from point A to point B, and you hold in
your hand a not-so-refreshing bottle of environmental disaster.

But it isn't eco-concerns alone that are driving this trend away from
the plastic bottle. As it turns out, your tap water is perfectly clean.
In study after study, bottled water has been proven to be no cleaner
than tap water, and has the added disadvantage that it isn't nearly as
well regulated as your tap water. Also, if you estimate that a bottle of
water costs about a dollar, your tap water is thousands of dollars cheaper.

And then of course there is bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical compound found
in the disposable bottles that could be disruptive to the body's hormone
levels. Though not as alarming as some media reports, an April 2008
study by the National Institutes of Health concluded that "the
possibility that bisphenol A may alter human development cannot be

So what's the health-conscious, eco-friendly boy or girl to do? The
answer: go to your local outfitter or other retailer and check out the
ever-growing selection of reusable beverage containers. From stainless
steel to BPA-free plastic, there are hundreds of choices for whatever
situation requires rehydration.

For backpackers and outdoor athletes who have been filtering water and
reusing water bottles all along, it's never been easier. The Vario
filter by Katadyn, for instance, pumps two liters of water per minute
and has a replaceable carbon core.

Chris Glaser, a manager at Benchmark Outfitters in Cincinnati says that
sales for the new containers - stainless steel and BPA free - have been
brisk. "A lot of our water bottle sales have been influenced by all the
reports of BPH on the news", he says. "We can't keep the products in stock".

Jenny of the NRDC is glad people are beginning to take a new look at the
plastic bottle. "I don't think people really considered the
environmental impact of bottled water", she says. "It just wasn't on
their radar - and now it is, which is great".


This article comes to Culture Change readers courtesy Get Out Zine:

The good ship Junk - made of 15,000 plastic trash water bottles - is on
her way from Long Beach to Hawaii, to highlight the important findings
of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation: junkraft.blogspot.com

Further Reading:

Culture Change reports on plastics, plus links to other groups such as
Algalita, producers of the award-winning documumentary "Our Synthetic
Sea": culturechange.org.

Ceramic filter (to avoid more plastics): gaiam.com

Additional reports at culturechange.org :

"Encountering plastics in the Caribbean" by Jan Lundberg, Culture Change
Letter #182:

"Plastic disaster breaks through to mainstream: scandal over
bisphenol-A" by Jan Lundberg Culture Change Letter #180, March 22, 2008:

"US Presidential candidates' staffs briefed on peak oil and the plastic
plague" by Jan Lundberg, Culture Change Letter #178

"Overpopulation, vegans eating plastic, and the housing bubble" by Jan
Lundberg, Culture Change Letter #117:


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essay posted at http://billtotten.blogspot.com/

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