Before the 1990s, if you wanted a bottled water, you’d probably be sitting in a restaurant, it would probably be in a glass bottle, “sparkling” and have the name Perrier on the label.
It wasn’t until the mid ‘90s that the likes of Nestle (who had bought Perrier) and the big soft drinks companies such as Pepsi and Coca-Cola got in on the act. With their slick advertising campaigns, bottled water really took off. Now you can get a plastic bottle of water pretty much anywhere and pay anything from mere cents to dollars for half a litre of tasteless wet stuff. Interesting side note, that makes bottled water more expensive per litre than gasoline.
Canadians drink approximately 2.5 billion litres of bottled water a year, so that is a heck of a lot of plastic bottles. While Canadians, and especially here in B.C., are pretty good at recycling theses bottles there is still a huge impact on the environment.
For starters, if you factor in making the plastic bottles the water comes in, it takes manufacturers up to three litres of water to product one litre of bottled water.
Then you have the energy it takes to produce the bottles from the petroleum raw materials, clean them, label them, fill them, and package them.
They then have to be transported to the stores, using more energy. Then they are picked up and transported to your home, and finally disposed of.
If your plastic bottle is recycled, and not all of them are, then more energy is needed to clean and process them into a usable material so the process can start all over again.
The solution to all of this is to simply drink tap water.
Most places in Canada are blessed with an abundance of clean high-quality water, and generally it is safe to drink (not to say there isn’t work to be done in some communities).
Municipalities are held to similar safety standards as manufacturers of bottled water, so any water produced/supplied should be safe to drink, even more so here in Princeton where our public works department goes above and beyond any minimum standards.
So always have a reusable bottle with you to fill up when needed, or repurpose that thermos coffee mug. Water’s much better for you anyway, and chilled water is a great thirst quencher.
If you’re put off by the slight chlorine taste, then fit an inline carbon filter either to your tap or to your fridge dispenser. If that’s not possible then filtered jugs like a Brita work just as well. Did you know about 25 per cent of bottled water is simply filtered municipal water anyway?
Don’t get duped by those big corporations and their fancy ads.
Bottled water is no better for you than tap water.
Drinking tap water is another easy step you can take to help the environment locally and on a global scale.
Neal Dangerfield writes a biweekly column for The Spotlight focusing on household inititiaves that protect the environment.
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