By Bob Hanson
When someone offers me a bottle of water, I tell them that I don’t do bottled water. It used to be that this response surprised the would-be donor. These days, more and more hosts understand where I am coming from.
If we lived in Flint, Michigan, or some other parts of the country, bottled water might be justified.
The water we get from our taps comes straight from the High Sierras and often has won awards for purity and flavor. The East Bay Municipal Utility District does a great job.
Bans on Plastic Water Bottles
In 2013, Concord, Massachusetts, became the first city in the country to ban single-serve plastic water bottles.
City fathers cited environmental and waste concerns. Since then a handful of colleges, several national parks and the City of San Francisco have joined the movement. I would support the City of Walnut Creek taking a similar stand.
Americans consumed 13.7 billion gallons of bottled water in 2017. I’m sure the 2019 amount was more.
Bottle Recycling Isn’t Widespread
About 70 percent of the plastic water bottles bought in the U.S. are not recycled. Most end up in landfills or in a ditch next to the road somewhere. The third most common item picked-up on our beaches on beach clean-up days is plastic water bottles…right behind cigarette butts and plastic food labels.
Ads for bottled water display clear mountain springs. In fact, most bottled water comes out of a faucet somewhere. Studies have shown that bottled water samples contain nearly twice as many pieces of micro-plastic per liter than tap water from a glass container. Chemicals from the plastic can leach into the water with serious side effects.
Bottled Water is Costly
Another negative factor is that every bottle of water sold at our local Safeway or Costco has been shipped by truck from far away. One popular brand comes all of the way from the Fiji Islands. Does that make any sense at a time when we are trying to kick the fossil fuel habit?
Bottle manufacturing uses huge amounts of petroleum. Carting the water around the country also requires a tremendous amount of fuel. Theoretically, we melt down the bottles and reuse the plastic. In practice, however, plastic recycling is becoming harder and harder to accomplish. China is where much of it is sent, but they are beginning to get fussier and fussier in what they will accept.
Plastic Manufacturing is Harmful
And pity the poor folks who live near a plastic bottle manufacturing plant. Studies show that communities living close to plastic factories suffer from increased levels of chronic illness and birth defects. In Corpus Christi, Texas, where the country’s largest plastic factory is located, birth defects for nearly a decade, from 1999 to 2007, were 63% higher than the rest of the state.
Bottled water is expensive. It can cost between four hundred to two thousand percent (400%-2,000%) percent more than tap water. That’s four times more than an equal volume of milk and three times the cost of gasoline. Mathematicians at Penn State University estimate that spending $20 on a reusable water bottle can save a person up to $1,236.00 a year.
So please join me in “just saying NO” to bottled water. Mother Earth, your health and your pocketbook will thank you.
Courtesy of the Rossmoor News, February 19, 2020 Email Bob Hanson at firstname.lastname@example.org