Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bottle Your Own!

Albuquerque’s mayor is working to remove bottled water; I love it… The story, in its entirety, will be available (give it a few hours)…on NPR with Scot Simon. The piece encouraged some research:
  • Producing the bottles for American consumption required the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil, not including the energy for transportation
  • Bottling water produced more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide
  • It took 3 liters of water to produce 1 liter of bottled water

Bottle your own!

In addition to the water sold in plastic bottles, The Pacific Institute estimates that twice as much water is used in the production process. Thus, every liter sold represents three liters of water.
Add to that the energy is needed to fill the bottles with water at the factory, move it by truck, train, ship, or air freight to the user, cool it in grocery stores or home refrigerators, and recover, recycle, or throw away the empty bottles.

Australia’s love affair with bottled water is costing the planet 314,000 barrels of oil a year. That's how much of one of the world's most precious resources it takes to package, ship and refrigerate a product that is already piped to every single suburban premises for next to nothing, according to
Sunday Age calculations.

"It's one of the greatest cons ever pulled," says
Clean Up Australia chairman Ian Kiernan. "It's just lunacy, there is no other word for it. We are squandering our oil resources."

Oil is not the only precious resource being squandered by consumers, with bottled water 2500 times more expensive than the tap variety.

"Drinking water in Melbourne or Sydney costs around $1.20 a tonne," says Mr Kiernan. "Australian bottled water costs around $3000 a tonne. And Italian bottled water? About $9000 a tonne.

"It's more expensive than petrol — if you could turn petrol into water you could make money."

Please, bottle your own!!

From The Smithsonian:

The 17 million barrels it takes each year to make water bottles for the U.S. market. (Plastic-making also generates emissions of nickel, ethylbenzene, ethylene oxide, and benzene, but because we're in the thick of the global-warming movement, not the environmental-carcinogen movement, this doesn't get much play.) That's enough oil to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year.


There is also a push for water bottlers in the United States to quit undermining local control of water sources with their pumping and bottling. This last bit—opposing the privatization of a public resource—may be too outré for most mainstream news outlets to pick up on, perhaps because it raises sticky questions of ownership and control, and it offends many Americans' ideas about the primacy of capitalism.

But while Corporate Accountability's mission to halt corporate control of a common resource might be abstract to most bottled-water drinkers, it isn't the least bit abstract to Californians resisting Nestlé's efforts to build a bottling plant in McCloud, near Mount Shasta, or to Floridians who swam in Crystal Springs until Nestlé began bottling it, or to those residents of Fryeburg, Maine, raging against Nestlé's boreholes and the big silver Poland Spring trucks that haul local water to markets throughout the northeast.

We're not even talking about off-gassing here...that would be a whole 'nuther story! Ugg...

Some insist bottled water is cleaner and safer than tap water…especially in some places. Not true, says 20/20’s John Stossle:

"20/20" took five bottles of national brands of bottled water and a sample of tap water from a drinking fountain in the middle of New York City and sent them to microbiologist Aaron Margolin of the University of New Hampshire to test for bacteria that can make you sick, like e. coli. "There was actually no difference between the New York City tap water and the bottled waters that we evaluated," he said.

Many scientists have run tests like that and have consistently found that tap water is as good for you as bottled waters that cost 500 times more.

While researching information for this piece…I discovered Chris Jordan’s site: "Running the Numbers". Stunning work!!! Please do visit…

This photo depicts two million plastic beverage bottles,
the number used in the US every five minutes.

"Running the Numbers looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. Each image portrays a specific quantity of something: fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminum cans (thirty seconds of can consumption) and so on. My hope is that images representing these quantities might have a different effect than the raw numbers alone, such as we find daily in articles and books. Statistics can feel abstract and anesthetizing, making it difficult to connect with and make meaning of 3.6 million SUV sales in one year, for example, or 2.3 million Americans in prison, or 32,000 breast augmentation surgeries in the U.S. every month."

Bottle your own, please!!!

As an aside, I especially liked Mr. Jordan’s first images on the site. “Constitution, 2008” depicts 83,000 Abu Ghraib prisoner photographs, equal to the number of people who have been arrested and held at US-run detention facilities with no trial or other due process of law, during the Bush Administration's war on terror. WOW


Mike Brady said...

For some more information on the costs of communities of bottled water see this case from Brazil:

Beverly said...

Thank you SO much! All this is just so astounding, isn't it?

Next I want to publish the 5-minute talk by ex-VP Al Gore who believes we can meet his challenge:

“America must commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and other clean sources within 10 years.”

I believe we can do it...if we rally behind the idea with the same fervor we rallied behind our country during WWII; remember the Victory Garden?

But YOUR piece (and thank you again!)...makes me even wonder if I should be buying my one small container or two per year...of Nesquick. [sigh]

Nestle's interest in McCloud, CA is close to my heart...we always camped near there; that area is where I learned my love of nature, living things...the earth on which we live.

If anyone thinks they cannot make a difference read: about One Straw or about some lady who thought perhaps planting trees in Guatemala would be a good idea: AIR

People are amazing!!! Even people on their own.

brad said...

There is a good alternative for those whose tap water does not taste good or people who do not trust the pipes the water passes through. The mains fed filter will purify tap at the point of use. Our company specializes in point of use bottle-less water systems: Bottleless Water Coolers