Thursday, 3 January 2013

The True Cost of Bottled Water

Convenient, environmentally-damaging, expensive?

In 2009, the Australian town of Bundanoon voted to ban the sale of bottled water in an effort to reduce the use of resources and amount of plastic ending up in landfill.

On the 1st January, 2013, a new law came into place in Concord, Massachusetts which banned the sale of bottles of water smaller than 1 litre

Some of the locals have declared the ban pointless because they can buy water in the neighbouring town.

I disagree.

The media impact of the Bundanoon ban in 2009 meant that GLOBAL bottled water sales dropped 10% that year. It brought the wastefulness of bottled water to the attention of people around the world.

The Environmental Issue
The environmental impact of bottled water is astonishing. The majority of water bottles can be recycled, however more than 75% of them end up in landfill. The UK is set to run out of space in landfills by 2018, but clearly recycling is still not used frequently enough to allow 13 billion plastic bottles of water to enter the waste chain each year.

One small (1 litre) plastic bottle is made of 162g of oil (from petroleum products) and SEVEN litres of water! This means the carbon footprint of one litre bottle of water is 100g of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is unacceptably high compared to 0.3g of CO2 produced by the production of a litre of tap water.

The Financial Issue
Bottled water costs up to 500 times as much as water from a tap. The World Health Organisation has stated that it is not aware of any potential health benefits of drinking bottled water, so why do people buy it?

Thirsty? Bring a refillable water bottle when you go out. 
Marketing? Stop being such a consumer sucka (as Mr. Money Mustache would say!)

Don't let companies take you for a ride. In 2012, supermarkets admitted to selling “filtered” bottled tap water at a massive profit, something Coca-Cola received a massive amount of flak for back in 2004.

The Bottom Line
There's nothing wrong with UK tap water! Think yourself lucky to live in a country where hygienic, healthy water can be obtained freely in your own home for less than a third of a penny per litre!

And yes, I do live in an area with hard water!

So what do you think? Would the planet benefit from a ban on small bottles of water (allowing larger ones for storing water for emergencies)? It might not be possible in countries with poor sanitation, but surely if safe tap water exists it is ridiculous to pay for a plastic bottle of the stuff!

Check this out if you fancy a laugh:

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