THE NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF BOTTLED WATER
Bottled water is very convenient, and generally of a high quality. But what about the negative impacts of using bottled water on the environment, on one’s health, and on one’s back pocket?
In the USA, 17 million barrels of oil a year are used to produce plastic water bottles. That much oil could keep a million cars fuelled for an entire year!
According to the Earth Policy Institute, the energy used to pump, process, transport and refrigerate all of that bottled water accounts for over 50 million barrels of oil each year. So, the next time you look at a plastic water bottle, envision it filled with 25% oil because that is how much it takes just to manufacture it!
Aside from the environmental impact of the manufacture of all of this plastic, there is another with the delivery of the filled bottles. The USA uses 40,000 18-wheelers just to deliver this plastic water every week!
PET & BPA’s
Water bottles are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics, but PETs don’t biodegrade they photo-degrade, which essentially means they do not degrade by biological processes but light processes. Of course, plastic piled in a landfill will rarely see any light. However, in the ocean, which is where tons of grocery bags, cool- drink bottles and other plastics end up, plastic is in as much light as water. In 2009, researchers from Nihon University in Chiba, Japan, found that plastic in warm ocean water can degrade in as little as a year. Sounds pretty good right? Sure, until you find out that those small bits of plastic are toxic chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA) and PS Oligomer. These chemicals end up in the guts of animals or wash up on the shore, where humans will come into direct contact with the toxins.
Eighty percent of the water bottles bought don’t get recycled. Instead they end up in landfills which is the absolute worst place for them to be. So, for every 10 bottles purchased only 2 of them will get recycled.
The issue with drinking bottled water is that the plastic leaches into the water it is holding, which has been linked to different types of cancer. Dangerous hormone-disrupting phthalates leach into the bottled water we drink after as little as 10 weeks of storage. It is much faster if the bottled water is left in the sun.
Depending on the size of the bottle, the brand, and the distance the water travels from its source, bottled water varies dramatically in price. When you buy a bottle of water, the water itself only costs a few cents — the rest of the money goes toward packaging, shipping, advertising and other administrative costs, with about 25 percent to 30 percent left over as profit for the manufacturer. The US Resources Defence Council says bottled water is more expensive than milk, wine or oil.
So, the next time you decide to purchase bottled water, consider these points.