Water has been playing a role in some recent weather disasters like Hurricane Irene and tropical storms in the southern United States. It’s no wonder it’s on our minds a lot lately.
It’s time to pay attention to where you get your water. In emergencies, of course, a bottle of water can be a lifesaver. But on a daily basis, a bottle of water is an expensive, environmentally destructive and potentially dangerous object.
Here are a few reasons:
- It takes 17 million barrels of oil per year to make all the plastic water bottles used in the U.S. alone. That’s enough oil to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year.
- In 2007, Americans consumed over 50 billion single serve bottles of water; between 30 and 40 million single serve bottles went into landfills each year.
- The United State FDA describes bottled water in this way: “Bottled water is water that is intended for human consumption and that is sealed in bottles or other containers with no added ingredients except that it may optionally contain safe and suitable antimicrobial agents. Fluoride may be optionally added within the limitations established.”
There are many sides of this issue – pro and con. Let’s focus on the sustainability issue presented by the bottles in the landfill and the oil used to make these bottles we’re throwing away. The simple fix is to stop using them. Who better than students to take the lead in finding ways to make this happen?
College students at two Minnesota schools have joined nine other colleges in the US in banning plastic water bottles on campus. This fall, the College of St. Benedict recently became the first school in the state — and the ninth in the nation — to ban the sale and purchase of plain bottled water on campus. Macalester College adopted a similar policy.
Many cities, including San Francisco and New York, have banned purchases of bottles of water using city money. Others may ban it from being sold within city limits. Chicago has begun taxing bottled water sales.
Hundreds of websites, including the one listed above, will give you more background information on this growing problem in the US – including which brands of bottled water are from a municipal water supply and which are from an authentic mountain spring.
You might want to take a look at your own consumption of bottled water.
Share your thoughts.
Do you drink it?
What kind do you buy?
Do you think it should be banned everywhere?
Do you have ideas on how to solve the problem of waste and expense?
Please weigh in!