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Bottled water

The True Cost of Drinking Bottled Water

Monday, February 18, 2008 by: Lynn Berry
Tags: bottled water, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) People all around the world are drinking more and more bottled water. Growing at a rate of 10% a year,
it's the most popular beverage (1). A report by the Earth Policy Institute (in Washington) reports that in 2004, people were drinking 154 billion litres compared to the 98 billion litres in 1999.

As the report says, in many countries bottled water is no healthier than tap water, but can be more
expensive than petrol or gas.

Mr. Grant, assistant director of design at RMIT University, says bottled water uses a lot of energy.
Driving a car for one kilometre used four megajoules of energy, drinking a 600-millilitre bottle of
water used 1.5 megajoules, including transport costs. Compare this to drinking tap water which used only 0.2 megajoules.

Another issue with bottled water is that some countries have more regulations governing tap water than
bottled water. However, regulation of tap water would be a contentious point among consumers given that regulation typically includes fluoridation of the water. For this issue see (http://www.newstarget.com/fluoride.html) .

Some companies are bottling tap water, giving the impression it is purer water, and selling it at huge
prices. The real issue then becomes the bottled water itself in terms of the energy required to produce, transport and dispose of the bottles. It is also an issue if the water in the bottle is the same, or similar to, tap water.

Water bottles are made of a common plastic, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which comes from crude oil. According to the Earth Policy Institute, around 2.7 million tons of plastic are used for bottles each year.

While we're using fossil fuels to make the bottles, we're burning these fuels to transport the bottles from Fiji to the USA, from Finland to Saudi Arabia, from Australia to the UK. Then they need to be disposed of. Around 86% are tossed in the rubbish. Some are incinerated, producing toxic by-products. Some are buried, taking 1,000 years to biodegrade.

In Germany, one of the most advanced countries in terms of recycling, there are laws requiring environmentally friendly packaging and refillable packaging. Glass water bottles are sold and then refilled up to 20 times. Many city councils in the US and Australia are advising employees not to drink bottled water and urging residents to do the same.

If you're concerned about tap water, try installing your own filtration system or use filter jugs and
carry the water in biodegradable corn starch bottles, these can be purchased from Belu at (http://www.belu.org/).

If you do need to buy bottled water, look for companies such as Belu that aim to be carbon neutral and
use their profits to support clean water projects in developing countries. Frank water (http://www.frankwater.com/) and One water (http://www.onewater.org.uk/) also supports clean water
projects.

The following site is running a campaign against bottled water and against companies bottling tap water (http://www.thinkoutsidethebottle.org/) .

Another site called Inside the Bottle is a project by the Polaris Institute to raise awareness about the bottled water industry (http://www.insidethebottle.org/) .

Reference:

1. (http://www.earth-policy.org/Updates/2006/Upd...)

About the author

Lynn Berry is passionate about personal development, natural health care, justice and spirituality. She has a website at www.lynn-berry.com.


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