The Water Debate

Do you drink bottled water?

I don’t, and neither should you.

I’m up on my soap box again, and this time it’s for a darn good reason, actually, it’s always for a good reason, but this time it’s to save you some money, and the planet!

Bottled water is a hot topic here in Arizona.  When the sun heats up this time of year, and we are nearing triple digit temperatures (which seem cool compared the full blown summer blistering heat) most people will be seen carrying a plastic water bottle.  The situation is clear, we NEED water, not only need it, but our bodies CRAVE it in this heat.  Bottled water is so easy to get and carry with you.  But how often do you stop and think about what exactly that simple bottle means? 

That bottle started it’s life in a factory.  A factory that used a disturbing amount of water just to make the bottle.  Not only water goes into bottle production, but massive quantities of oil too…and hey, you did know we’re in an oil crisis, right?

Then the bottle is filled.  Surprisingly, you may think you’re drinking crystal clear mineral spring water…but you’re not.  You’re most likely just drinking plain old filtered tap water.  But not the same tap water you’d find at home.  Nope, the FDA does not have the same stipulations on bottled water as the EPA sets for tap water.  Some bottled water can be better regulated than tape, and some worse. 

All those bottles are then transported thousands of miles to your store shelf.  That’s thousands of miles of fuel and pollution going into the atmosphere to bring you something you can get from your tap. 

By the time that bottle reached your hands it has had a fairly decent footprint on this planet. 

It gets worse though.  Almost 90% of plastic water bottles are not recycled.  They add to the tons of trash that is loaded up in landfills, and filling our oceans. 

Maybe you don’t always recycle, but you think you’re doing the right thing by RE-USING your bottle, eh?  If you do practice this, be careful.  A water bottle that has been opened and left in a warm spot can become breeding grounds for bacterial growth. 

Side water story —

As you well know, us Fays use stainless steel water bottles.  And we are not afraid of plain old tap water either.

This wasn’t always the case though.

A few years ago I was fighting the water fight against my husband.  It took me a long time to get him adjusted to drinking filtered tap water.  Before then, he was a big bottled water consumer.  For years, he was adament that plain tap water tasted gross and was bad for him (umm…U.S tap water is among the safest in the world) I like to prove points though, so I ran a little experiment. 

For three months I stopped filtering our water.  I wouldn’t run it through the Brita filter, but just put it in the jug in the fridge.  I waited, holding my breath all the while, for him to say something about it being bad tasting.  Not a peep.  Never.

So finally, one day I told him the truth, he had been drinking tap water, unfiltered for months, and had never noticed a change. 

He never complained about tap water again. 

So if I can get my bottled water only drinker to turn in to a brave tap water drinker…don’t you think you would be up for at least dropping the bottled water habit? 

I have no qualms with filtered water, we do use our fridge filtration system since it’s already cold.  But for goodness sake, stop using those plastic bottles!  Save yourself some major dough and use the stuff that comes from your tap (or fridge).

If you are an avid bottled water drinker like Jamie in my comments – do your research.  We should always be careful of what we put in and on our bodies.

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8 thoughts on “The Water Debate

  1. Great post, Boo. I have come to the conclusion, from the experience here in the office, that it’s sheer laziness that keeps people pulling a bottle rather than taking a moment to fill one. We have clean glasses, filtered cold water and filtered water-made ice… and still the guys pull out a cold bottle of water, rather than take a moment (literally a moment) to fill a glass, or an aluminium water bottle. The average American will say, it doesn’t matter. The earth is going to hell in a handbasket anyway, so me and my “footprint” is small in the scheme of things. It amazes me that those same people feel so “large” when they want something; their personal signifigance is based only on what they choose to find important.

    I applaud you and the steps you take to leave a world for our future generations. We used to look forward to leaving a “Better” world behind us… now we have to look at, will we leave a recognizable world behind at al.

  2. Jaye–if you observed the waste on film sets you would die. It’s terrible! I’ll bet we’ve gone through 24 cases (!!!) on this two day shoot alone. It’s ridiculous.

    • Do I need to come out there and have a talk with the crews Shelly??? Tell those peeps to get some Klean Kanteens!

  3. I have to admit that I am an AVID plastic bottle water drinker. I never knew how much of an outsider I really was until I was in Portland, Oregon and asked for a bottled water. I got death stares and I was pretty sure I was going to get murdered in a dark ally behind my hotel room.

    I am not going persuade anyone from drinking tap water. I applaud you for that. However, I don’t want you to judge people who drink bottle water…especially in large, metropolitan, polluted cities. There are always two sides to the story and many facts over looked or incorrect.

    With that being said…..Tap water is discussing, especially here in AZ and can be dangerous in large cities with all the pollutants and all the chemicals they have to use for you to drink tap water. Rates of cancer is MUCH larger in cities than rural areas. Drinking water???? Who knows.

    I won’t drink Arrowhead water and a few other brands because they taste like tap water. You are right…..most are filtered water from tap water. Tap water is regulated by EPA. In the bottling process, FDA gets involved. So bottle water has TWO agents that check water.

    1000 of miles transported….not so. Coke, Pepsi, Nestle and Arrowhead are the largest bottlers of water in the US and they have locations in most of the major cities. I know we have Coke, Pepsi and Arrowhead here in the valley. Bottling companies have opened plants to lower transportation.

    90% of the bottles are “virgin plastics”….true….that is because here in the US it is not cost effective to do plastic recycling. We ship it to China and make they make carpet and other plastic fibers out of it. My husband and I own a percentage in a plastic recycling plant in California. It has more than enough plastics…..it is just US users won’t use recycled plastics.

    The plastic bottle can leach chemicals into the water it’s carrying when it’s heated or re-used. MYTH!!!!! You can google it or go to this link: http://www.jhsph.edu/publichealthnews/articles/halden_dioxins2.html

    Overall, we have to stop polluting our planet. I am so aware of that and I am aware of how much damage I am doing. However, when we pollute our land, we pollute our water. It is a necessary evil in larger cities to drink water that has gone threw a few more steps in filtering it. As well as developing countries where bottle water is the ONLY source of water that is suitable for drinking. I will also be prepared if a disaster struck and our water was contaminated.

    Bottle water is a necessary evil in our world.

    • I’m not going to judge those who drink bottled water. But I would expect someone to do so responsibly. If you’re checking to make sure that your water is from a local bottling company, and being regulated properly, then that’s wonderful. Generally though, I would bet most Americans don’t do that. Their probably spending a lot of money to have bottled water, thinking it is better for them, when it might not be.
      You’re right, in some circumstances, bottled water will have both EPA and FDA regulations on it. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case, and neither of them actually certify bottled water http://www.epa.gov/safewater/faq/pdfs/fs_healthseries_bottlewater.pdf. The FDA bases their regulations off the EPA standards, but they aren’t certifying it? I find that strange.
      Maybe here in Phoenix we do have local bottling companies, but this isn’t true everywhere. Bottled water is shipped all over the country, and those transportation miles do add up.
      Just because the U.S. doesn’t have good recycling standards doesn’t save the 88% of bottles that are being tossed away instead of placed in a blue bin. This is entirely a citizen responsibility thing. I still have issues with us not using our own recyclables, but the fact is, most of our recyclables don’t even get to that stage because Americans take the easy way out and throw it in the trash.
      You appear to have a point with the chemicals leaching into regular plastic bottles – I can’t find a reliable source for this one. But, you have to still think about the bacterial growth that will occur in a plastic bottle that is heated after being opened…that’s undeniable. I highly doubt most people will properly disinfect a plastic bottle after each use to clear it of bacteria.
      Thanks for the info Jamie!

  4. Woo hoo! You were the inspiration I needed. I talked to the power that be this afternoon, and no more water bottles in this office. We have filtered water, and I will no longer buy and bring water in. Small steps and I’m sure there will be some push back, but this office is getting greener all the time.

  5. Another option to plastic bottled water is to carry an aluminium bottle that you fill with filtered water. It’s still far more ecologically responsible than bottled water. There are many points to argue, but the “disposable” bottle one is valid; there are equitable and more responsible options.

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