Bottled Water is Big Business and Big Trouble

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Do you know how plastic bottles are made? Technically, it’s ingenious! Watch this to see the process.

However, there is a price tag attached. First of all, think of how much machinery was involved in all of that. That means large facilities using lots of energy to run those operations.

The plastic itself is derived from petroleum, which comes from oil, which of course, has to be extracted from the earth through complex drilling operations and potential devastating effects on the environment.  Huge amounts of oil are diverted into the plastics industry. It has been estimated that 17 MILLION barrels of oil are used each year to create plastic water bottles…an astounding waste of natural resources.

Water is required to make water! It takes around 3 liters of water to produce one liter of bottled water… a huge waste of an increasingly precious resource. That’s not even to mention the amount of fuel that is used to transport bottles of water around the country and the world, which is also very costly.

Now, consider the fact that much of the water in bottled water is actually tap water! More on that next week.

The amount we spend on a SINGLE BOTTLE of water could buy 0VER $1,000 of TAP WATER!! Think about that.  As one author says, that’s like buying a “$10,000 sandwich.” (James Salzman, “Drinking Water: A History”) That cost goes straight from your wallet to the bottled water industry, which includes harvesting the products to make plastic, the processing plants, the venders, the administrators, the stores, the transportation and all the other handlers in between.

Then there’s the cost to the environment.  It is estimated that Americans throw away about 60 MILLION water bottles EVERY SINGLE DAY! Very few plastic bottles are recycled. Most wind up in trashcans, lakes, rivers, streams or landfills from where some of it leaches into underground water systems, the ocean, into the wildlife that accidentally ingests it, then into larger animals up the food chain, and yes…back to us. No one knows for sure how long it would take a plastic bottle to fully disintegrate, because they haven’t been around long enough, but studies estimate that it would take more than 500 years. What is certain, however, is that plastic NEVER fully disappears. It just breaks down into smaller and smaller bits called micro-plastics that show up in our oceans and inside increasing numbers of wildlife.

And yet the industry continues to grow around 10% per year. Over $100 billion is spent on bottled water per year worldwide.

What can you do? It’s so easy. Start with awareness. When you reach for a plastic bottle of water…wait! Invest in some cool reusable bottles and a filter if you prefer that taste. Pour your own. Tell others.