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Top Reasons to Refuse Bottled Water

Glancing down a grocery aisle, bottled water looks so tempting. The beautiful graphics of green trees, exotic water from Fiji or France… it looks so healthy.  It’s easy to be duped by this misleading advertising.

Growing up the Philly suburbs, I never bought water.  Luckily, our tap was clean and my Dad didn’t get the point in buying a typically free product.  (Who knew Dad’s crazy protest was actually helping the environment? )

The bottled water industry is an environmental termite.  When you’re drinking a bottle of water, you’re consuming approximately 1/2 of that bottle in oil – talk about hurting your Carbon Footprint!

Why is bottled water so bad?

  • Producing and transporting the bottled water sucks up natural resources.  Manufacturing & transporting plastic bottles emits mass carbon emissions.  This process can use up to 47 million gallons of oil per year – (Imagine how much of that oil could be used to lower the gas prices.)  Importing that bottle from Fiji or France?  That bottle of water is traveling halfway across the world.
  • Most water bottles aren’t recycled.  Bottled water alone adds up to 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year.  According to the Container Recycling Institute, 9 of 10 water bottles end up as litter or garbage – that’s 30 million bottles per day!
  • To top it off, most bottled water comes from same the tap as your household!  Regardless of fancy marketing, you’re not gaining health benefits by drinking bottled water over tap.  (Tap water contains fluoride good for your pearly whites, which isn’t a benefit found in that bottle.)

While I’ve converted to Nalgene/Stainless steel containers & reusable cups, I’ll admit there are places where tap isn’t desirable.  If I journey south of the US border,  I won’t be risking Montezuma’s Revenge. After I run the 10-mile Broad Street Run, I won’t be turning down that bottled water until I get to my own tap.

In the meantime, here’s some ways to green your water consumption:

  • Purchase a Brita Pitcher or Water Filter to put directly on your tap.  This way, you’ll have clean tap water flowing & avoid purchasing bottled water.
  • Use a reusable water bottle. (Worried about recent anti-Nalgene claims?  Switch to stainless steel thermos, mugs or cups.)  Bring it with you to work, fill up at the gym, and take with you for days away from home.  This can also force you to drink more water – which is better for your health, anyway.
  • Recycle! If you do have to purchase bottled water, ensure it ends up in the recycle bin.  You may have to walk a little further or crush it & save it until you see a recycle bin, but it will save landfills from plastic.

Still not convinced?  London (Ontario) just passed a ban to stop selling bottled water… the trend’s catching on!

Posted by Julie

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Julie Hancher
Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

5 thoughts on “Top Reasons to Refuse Bottled Water

  1. Even the small percentage of these bottles that are recycled can’t be made into more water bottles. They have to be made into a lower form of plastic like fleece or docks!

  2. Good point Julia – that’s even more of the reason to reduce your water bottle consumption (if not elimiate it completely!)

    As far as the Nalgene recycling, most of the bottles i’ve seen are #7 – which aren’t common to recycle. You can seek if any local centers recycle this number, or reuse your old nalgenes to water plants or use as flower ‘vases’.

  3. I agree completely! What is better than recycling or reusing plastic products?? The answer is the 3rd big “R” – reduce = don’t purchase them in the first place.

    Isn’t it so scary that there’s a floating mass of garbage in the Pacific between Hawaii and the west coast… this will be around for hundreds of years! The garbage supposedly covers an area larger than the state of Texas.

    Plastic seemed like such a great idea at the time, but it is obviously used in a primarly “disposable” fashion and it is also used to make far too many things (from children’s toys, drinking bottles, wrappings, furniture, electronics, etc., etc.)

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