by Lisa White
The statistics are disappointing: 38 billion plastic water bottles aren’t recycled each year. But there’s no need to lose out on the health benefits of on-the-go agua. Switch to reusable bottles—and for all of the right reasons.
Create a fashion statement.
There are so many to chose from. At a local store or online from sites such as LifeFactory.com, WaterBobble.com, Camelbak.com, Sigg.com and Nalgene.com, reusable bottles can be stainless steel, aluminum, glass, polycarbonate or other plastics. Be certain the plastics or liners do not contain BPA, an endocrine-disrupting chemical linked to numerous health concerns.
Save money for important stuff.
Depending on materials and insulating properties, a high-quality reusable bottle generally retails from $5 to $30. Greeniacs.com reports that bottled water can cost up to 10,000 times more per gallon than tap water. The average American currently spends more than $5 per week ($260/year) supporting this $100 billion a year industry. Thirty dollars versus $260 is an impressive return on investment.
Bottled water is not necessarily healthier or cleaner than tap water. Bottled water, often stored for long periods of time, may eventually contain more microorganisms than tap water. A lot of bottled water is “purified”, actually originating as drinking water from a municipal water system. Skip the pricey word games and drink the tap water that is rigorously tested by local, state and federal environmental agencies. If taste and purity are issues, invest in a water filter. Both PUR and Brita offer filtering products that effectively eliminate lead, chlorine, mercury and copper from tap water.
Be a hero to our land and seas.
Discarded bottles litter highways, clog waterways or end up in incinerators and landfills. Plastic in landfills can take up to 700 years to decompose. Microplastics fill patches of our ocean, as evidenced by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch we see in the news.
Save the dinosaurs.
OK, not the actual dinosaurs. Fossil fuels were created from organisms that lived long before the dinosaurs. But none of them are coming back any time soon. The Earth Policy Institute estimates that energy used to pump,process, transport and refrigerate bottled water consumes over 50 million barrels of oil annually, more fuel than is required for 100,000 cars in a year. Recycling those bottles uses additional energy and other resources.
Stand up for communities.
Bottled water is often diverted from communities that rely on that water for their livelihood or future. The bottling companies make profits, and the citizens of these areas are negatively impacted, sometimes even having to buy bottled water themselves when the non-diverted water from their taps is not safe.
Making the switch makes us part of the solution.
Lisa White is a board member and one of more than 550 households owning the Doylestown Food Market, in Doylestown. Check out their Lifefactory silicone-wrapped glass bottles, and don’t miss TAPPED on June 9, part of the Market’s Farm Fresh Film Series. For more information, call 215-348-4548 or visit Doylestown.coop.