Bottle water: A modern nightmare

Last night I was tired and achy and just wanted to relax and watch a movie.  I decided to watch TAPPED a documentary on bottled water.  While I haven’t purchased a bottle of water in quite some time, I have to say if I was drinking bottled water I wouldn’t be now.

Do you know where the water comes from in the bottles in your area?

As a child I knew no fear.  I swam in chlorinated pools and lake water.  If I was hot I turned on the outside spigot and drank directly from that or the hose, if it was attached, too lazy to go inside.

At some point I began to literally hate the taste of water.  It was the chemical taste that bothered me.  To drink water, I began to drink bottled water.  Some tasted better than others.  Bottles labeled “from spring water” tasted no different to me than what came from the tap and sometimes worse.

Initially I began to filter my water at home and carry it with me to save money. Since I live in a farming community I chose to use a Pur filter which would do a better job than other home filters I looked at for possible agricultural run-off which could be in my water.   I had yet to realize the true costs of bottled water at the time I began to carry my own.

Away from home I still had a problem.  How could I refill my bottle with tap water if I found I couldn’t tolerate the taste?  I found a good selection of reusable bottles with filters inside them.  I purchased mine from reuseit.

As I began to learn more about bottled water I began to realize that we have been sold a fairy tale, but one without the happily-ever-after ending.  Bottled water is not better or cleaner for us than tap.  According to the environmental working group when testing 10 major brands of bottled water 38 contaminants were found, many which can cause cancer or cancerous cells to multiply. Click here to learn more from this study.

Tapped the Movie

Some surprising facts I learned from watching this documentary were:

  • Companies who bottle water, sell the majority of that water in the state in which they obtain the water to avoid having their water tested.
  • Their water comes from municipal water, which means you are paying in your taxes to have that water tested and treated for your purposes. Then these companies come in and use your water to sell back to you.
  • In areas where there are drought conditions, bottling companies are not told to ration water like you and I would be.

If you want to learn more click here to check out the website for Tapped.  You can also view the documentary on Netflix, Hulu, or even download or buy it from Amazon.

Buying bottled water hurts more than the environment

It is true that natural resources are used to create the bottles to hold our water.  Water and oil are used in the manufacturing of these bottles.  The oil used in 2006 alone to produce the bottles (just for Americans) to drink from one time was 17 million barrels of oil, or enough oil to “keep 1 million cars on the road 12 months” according to National geographic.

Very little of the total number of bottles used annually are recycled.  Using the latest figures I could find only 13% were recycled in any year.

Many are ending up in our waterways and harming fish who eat on the pieces of these bottles.  We are finding dead zones where there is more plastic than plankton in the bodies of water. We now have a reported 400 dead zones in our oceans.

I knew that shipping bottled water to my local stores was a costly business.  I had worked for trucking companies in the past.  I know what the weight of these trucks can do to our roads, I knew a truck gets between 5 – 8 miles per gallon of diesel fuel compared to my car which gets 30 miles to the gallon of gasoline.  Again using the 2006 figures from National Geographic the pollution from shipping bottled water from Western Europe to New York City  releases 3,800 tons of pollution alone. Can you imagine what the numbers are for all bottled water shipped in a year?

But what I hadn’t considered when I purchased a bottle of water was how it affected the people living in the communities where the water was sourced from.  Even if I could tell myself I didn’t care how my actions affected the planet,  how could I drink a bottle of water if it came from a community, suffering drought conditions, whose residents are unable to have enough water for their daily needs?

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