Can The Energy That Flows Through The Ecosystem Be Recycled The Environmental Cost of Bottled Water

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The Environmental Cost of Bottled Water

In 2006, Americans spent over $10.8 billion on bottled water. What was this money really spent on? What is the environmental impact of billions of dollars worth of bottled water? Besides convenience, does bottled water offer any real benefits?

Types of bottled water

Bottled water is available in different types. Bottled waters are classified into types according to the source of the water.

  • Artesian Water – Artesian water comes from sealed aquifers.
  • Mineral – Mineral water originates from geologically and physically protected underground water sources. To be considered mineral water, water must contain at least 250 parts per million of total dissolved solids.
  • Spring – spring water comes from underground formations from which water flows naturally.
  • Purified water is filtered municipal or tap water. Purified water can be filtered in different ways, such as distillation, deionization or reverse osmosis.

While bottled water may seem better than tap water, consider this fact – if you’re drinking Aquafini or Dasani water, then you’re drinking filtered tap water.

Is bottled water safer?

According to a 1999 study by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), bottled water in the United States “is not necessarily safer or cleaner than tap water.” water, the NRDC continued to state that about a quarter of the brands tested contained contaminants and “violated strict applicable [California] restrictions on bottled water”

While our municipal water undergoes what Food & Water Watch calls “rigorous testing,” more than 100 or more tests are performed each month. By comparison, bottling plants, which are (according to some) low risk, are inspected less than once a year.

Understanding the environmental costs of bottled water

According to SIGG, “Over 100 million plastic water bottles are thrown into US landfills every day!” Given this fact, waste disposal is an obvious concern. Unfortunately, she is not the only one.

Utilization of water resources

We live in a world with fewer and fewer resources. Water is a precious commodity. By consuming rare artesian and mineral water from developing countries, we are overtaxing their water resources. Is it fair to bottle up the natural resources of developing countries at the expense of their indigenous people?

Production and transportation costs

Ling Li of Food & Water Watch says that “bottled water production, bottling and packaging all require energy, so they basically use gas and oil. And then when you ship bottled water, you use a lot of gas and create carbon dioxide emissions.” Should we pay for bottled water when we already pay for municipal water infrastructure?

Filling our landfills

By tossing more than 100 million plastic water bottles into the trash every day as a nation, we are filling up our landfills. By the end of the year, we will throw away 2 million tons of waste bottles. While more cities are introducing recycling schemes, plastic recycling is declining. Last year we recycled only 23% of our plastic bottles.

Comfort at a price

As convenient as bottled water is, we all need to be aware of the cost of this convenience. This cost is not only environmental, but also financial. NRDC estimates that bottled water costs 240-10,000 times more than tap water.

As a nation, we need to end our love affair with bottled water. Once we understand the environmental costs of bottled water, we can ask ourselves an important question – Why do we choose to pay 240 to 10,000 times more than tap water for bottled water, a convenient product that destroys our environment?

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