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The Waste of Bottled Water in America

As you know, I advocate drinking clean spring and filtered water, certainly not the fluoridated kind that comes straight out of the tap. And, it's environmentally wise to avoid bottled water too, a substance that may no safer or better than tap water.

Nevertheless, global consumption of bottled water surged by more than 57 percent to 41 billion gallons in 2004, and America leads the world in this dubious category with nearly 7 billion gallons. In real terms, that accounts for one 8-ounce glass of bottled water for each American per day, although Italians drink about twice as much on average.

Here's three numbers that may make you seriously reconsider drinking water, except in a pinch, and especially if you're environmentally conscious:

  • It takes 1.5 million barrels of oil each year to make polyethylene terephthalate, a plastic derived from crude oil to make the bottles that hold the water that slakes the thirst of Americans.
  • The amount of oil wasted to make those bottles can fuel about 100,000 American cars for a year.
  • Some 90 percent of the empty bottles become trash that, when buried, may take 1,000 years to biodegrade.

My first choice for water containers is glass, and I only use plastic bottles when I travel. Now, I use the wide-mouth Nalgene bottles that are made from safer plastic.

Earth Policy Institute February 2, 2006

Yahoo News February 4, 2006

Physorg.com February 12, 2006

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