Bottled Water and the Environmental Effects of Bottled Water

Background
Problems With Water Bottles

Background

Water, it is an absolute necessity for life but the modern way of consuming water is a threat to life and the environment. Throughout much of the western world, fresh, clean water is readily and cheaply available from the tap but the widespread adoption of drinking water from disposable plastic bottles is causing serious impacts upon the environment.

Problems With Water Bottles

Around 118,000 tonnes of plastic drink containers are manufactured each year and demand is increasing at around 10 percent per annum. Only 35 percent of this is then recycled, the rest goes to landfill or becomes rubbish polluting rivers, waterways and the ocean.

The production of a plastic bottle requires around 16 times the volume of the bottle in water.

Disposable plastic water bottles are not designed to be used multiple times. Bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are harmless for single use, but reusing them can lead to chemical leaching of toxins like the carcinogen DEHA, and the hormone disrupter, benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP)

Bottled water requires oil. The lifecycle costs of a bottle of water equate to one quarter of the bottle volume in oil.

Just as tap water is extremely cheap, bottled water is expensive. The NY Times reported that drinking the daily recommended quantity of water from the tap would cost 49 cents for the year. Drinking the same as bottled water would cost $1400.

Tap water quality is perfectly fine to drink. Any discolouration or other problems with tap water are likely to come from your own pipes.

Bottled water is likely to actually be nothing more than packaged water direct from mains supply. In other words, it is tap water. The Natural Resources Defence Council has reported that 40% of the bottled water sold in the USA is sourced in this manner.

Source: AZoCleantech

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