Water is vital for life. Water issues around the globe –from access to restriction– are always important topics of conversation. Have you considered your impact? What’s the true impact of that disposable water bottle you just bought?
Hydration is a very important aspect of nutrition and overall health. We can go much longer without food than without water. In fact, the adult human body to be made up of ~60% water and accounts for 90% of body weight.
Access to clean and safe drinking water is a top concern in developing countries, with many illnesses and deaths attributed to its lacking.
However, in the developed world clean water is often taken for granted. Cities of all sizes take great precautions to ensure safe drinking water is flowing from the taps of its citizens. As discussed in The Toronto Star, municipal water facilities are inspected daily, while water bottling plants are only reviewed once in THREE year. Local authorities test for coliform bacteria several times per day, while water bottle plants only check once per week.
Despite all this, bottled water is often regarded as the safest and preferred source of hydration by many, which can largely be attributed to the large marketing budgets of water bottle companies. Though water is a much better choice than other beverages we can buy, the question remains why are we buying bottled water when we have clean drinkable water coming from our taps?*
The 2015 price for tap water in the City of Toronto is $0.01452243/gal or about $0.004 per liter, making the cost to fill a standard 500mL water bottle about $0.002 –that’s 10x less than a penny! No matter what kind of sale it’s on, bottled water can’t compete with this price. If you think you’re saving on water bills by buying water bottles on sale, this is false.
Have you ever thought about the environmental impact of bottled water? Plastics can be made from natural gas, crude oil, coal, minerals, and plants. They can be seen as one of the byproducts of the oil industry. The byproducts of gasoline production are mixed with other chemicals to create plastic beads which are then shipped to plastic moulding plants to create water bottles. These bottles are then shipped to a bottling plant where they are filled, packaged into the small pallets consumers will buy, which are then put onto larger pallets for the store and shipped for sale. Then someone buys these water bottles and drives them to their home or business, where they will either use or sell them to the final consumer, respectively. Then this bottle is thrown out or recycled, taken to the recycling facility or landfill. Don’t forget that with each transport step we are using more fossil fuels. Did you know that it takes plastic bottles 450-1000 years to biodegrade? Now think about the ecological footprint you’ve already made with the plastic bottles you’ve bought so far.
You may have also heard of the multi-year drought being experiences in many places around the world, including California. Despite severe restrictions on water use throughout the state, bottled water is still allowed to be pumped from the drought stricken state, thanks to a zoning loophole.
You may have seen many reusable water bottles lately have a large “BPA FREE” sticker somewhere on them. BPA (Bisphenol A) is an environmental estrogen that can leach into your beverage from your bottle, especially if it’s hot. BPA has been linked to reproductive issues and certain cancers. Soft plastic water bottles on the other hand contain polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which has also been shown to leach endocrine disruptors into the water, especially with increased temperature and prolonged storage.
Based on the above, every reusable water bottle comes with significant financial, environmental, and health costs.
Alternatively, consider investing in a metal or glass reusable bottle. Lasting for many years, these options will all you so save money, the environment, and your health by avoid leaching of potentially harmful chemicals into your water and water bottles in landfills.
Making your home or business a plastic bottle free zone is an attainable goal. Ryerson University took the pledge to
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Posted by Robert James Hoffman III on Wednesday, May 13, 2015
” target=”_blank”>eliminate plastic water bottles on campus
in 2013 and now sells reusable ones in vending machines next to water fountains where they can be filled.
So next time you buy a plastic water bottle consider what it REALLY costs.
Stay healthy and happy,
Anna Gofeld, RD
*I am only referring to areas with potable water that has been deemed safe to drink. Please check with local authorities to ensure the water coming from your tap is safe to drink. Follow necessary precautions to purify your water, such as boiling or appropriate filtering, if it is not safe to drink from the tap.