Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Yesterday, one of the guys who are replacing rotted wood on our deck came up to me and asked me for bottled water. I feel silly to say this but I was kinda embarrassed that I didn't have any; for only one second. Then I started to tell the guy my thoughts on all the hundreds of bottles just our household alone uses, without even putting bottled water into the equation. It was hard to get out of the habit, I grant you. We have just gotten to the stage where we no longer fill up old bottles, using washable bottles now.

Market studies show that the reason most Americans drink bottled water is its perceived superiority—most importantly in taste, and then in safety—compared to municipal tap water. But a widely publicized 1999 study by the Natural Resources Defense Council debunked at least some of these perceptions. The study found that the source of about a quarter of bottled water was municipal tap water, usually filtered to remove chlorine—the primary objectionable taste—and other chemicals such as fluoride—so much for the idea of pristine, undisturbed sources.

And instead of the widely held notion that bottled water harbored fewer chemicals and microorganisms, the study found little difference between the two; both are usually of exceptionally high quality in the United States. In fact, water quality standards in this country are more rigorous for tap water than for bottled. (The Food and Drug Administration regulate bottled water while tap water is overseen by the more stringent Environmental Protection Agency.)

Besides the enormous cost of bottled water compared to tap water (bottled water is between 250 to 10,000 times more expensive), there’s an additional expense: its effect on the environment. First there’s the crude oil necessary to produce the plastic bottles, which the Earth Policy Institute estimates at about 1.5 million barrels of oil a year in the U.S., enough to power 100,000 cars. Then there’s the transportation of this weighty product (though about 75 percent of bottled water is produced and consumed regionally). Finally, there’s the issue of getting rid of the empty bottles, only about 10 percent of which are recycled.

I have also started to buy the big two liters of soda, which in the past I have HATED due to their awkwardness and loss of fizz after awhile. The lack of fizz was operator error, I have come to find out and I can get over the awkwardness. I married Gordon after all!!!


Mechelle said...

Ohhh so environmentally correct! Too bad the well water at my house is not consumable! It's very, very salty, can't even use it for coffee! Culligan man to the rescue - he delivers 5 gallon re-fillable jugs for the water "cooler".

dee said...

There's not even a contest for mentally unbalanced among my friends & I. They all just turn slowly and look at me. But you knew that!
We've stopped the bottled water as well except for trips to visit family in a particular state where the water is so bitter it makes you gag. I couldn't believe it the first time we visited and I tried to take some aspirin before bed. Un-drinkable. NY has among the best water- I never appreciated it till we started to travel. Now we try to take refilled & frozen bottles of our water in a little cooler. Works pretty well & Roger needs his insulin kept cool anyway so two birds with one stone

Brenda said...

Hear, hear! We stopped buying bottled water this year and use a water jog chilled in the fridge instead. My little bit for the environment and I save money too...