Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bottled Water

Wednesday's Duluth News Tribune had an interesting article on the popularity of bottled water.

Corporate Accountability International conducted a test at UMD to see if students could tell the difference between AquaFina and Dasani bottled waters and the tap water from Duluth and Minneapolis. Most of the students couldn't correctly identify 1 out of 4 of the samples. Most of them identified Duluth tap water as Dasani.

Here are a few facts about bottled water:

A 2000 study found that 1/4 of bottled water had higher levels of bacteria than Cleveland tap water.

On average, a gallon of bottled water costs the same as a gallon of gasoline. Vending machine bottled water is 3 times the cost of gasoline!

Americans are the largest consumer of bottled water, using 56 BILLION, 16-oz plastic bottles each year!

It takes 1.5 million barrels of oil per year to make the plastic for bottled water. That's enough fuel to power 100,000 cars for a year.

It takes more water to make a plastic bottle, than it does to fill it.

86% of plastic water bottles in the U.S. aren't recycled.

I can understand buying an occassional bottle of water, instead of pop, when you're away from home. But many people stock their refrigerators with these bottles.
I also realize that many areas of the country have nasty tasting tap water. There are still options other than individual plastic bottles.

Most of us have tap water that's virtually identical to bottled water. Start drinking it! You'll save yourself a bundle and be helping the environment at the same time.

26 Comments:

At 4/13/2006 5:23 PM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Trust me, I know what's in Canadian bottled water. Do.not.touch.it unless a specific spring's name is on it.

Some comes from lake ontario, in which you can't swim because of fecal coliform. other stuff comes from a farm shut down because of how they processed dead animals. So they started selling the well water (a very bad idea). I could go on and on, but you get the idea.....

 
At 4/13/2006 6:05 PM, Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

Well, I come from a place with some questionable contaminants in the area (like Hanford Nuclear Plant). Also, I've gotten sick from drinking tap water in some areas (like when I moved to Texas), so I just have gotten so gun shy that I buy bottled water. But you're right, I could buy the big jugs instead of the bottles. I usually can't taste a difference, but I'd like to not be poisoned.

 
At 4/13/2006 6:42 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Bridg, don't EVER drink the water in Indianhead, Sask.! We couldn't even drink coffee made out of that water. YUCK!

Notta, research where you bottled water comes from too. Like Bridg said, there are a few horror stories out there.

 
At 4/13/2006 10:09 PM, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said...

We got started on the bottled water when we had a well with icky tasting water. Now that we live in town, I like the tap water just fine and drink that. I've told the kids not to drink the bottled water at home, it's only to take in their lunches. They balk at that! I grew up drinking water out of the hose at my great-grandmother's house and still miss the metalic flavor of the hose yet my kids won't drink good tasting tap water. Sheesh! Oh, and we recyle all plastic, glass, aluminum and newspaper. I was recycling our cardboard too, but it got to be too much to store at home until I could get enough to justify a trip out to the recycling center at the edge of town. Now that we have a garage though, I might just go back to doing that. Hmmmm

 
At 4/13/2006 10:53 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Our household uses a double filtration thingy, this water is then boiled, cooled and stored in 2ltr bottles then refrigerated for drinking and for cooking, I usually drink a 500ml glass on rising AM and have a large apple with orange juice half an hour before brekky. BTW This water is a pleasure to drink and it is relatively inexpensive.
This assists in the detox of my inner organs created by my indulgence the night before, of my fav tipple, J W.

 
At 4/14/2006 9:09 AM, Blogger Laura said...

Penn & Teller have a show called Bullshit where they debunk various myths, etc. They did one on bottled water where they staged this restaurant with a "water sommelier" and people actually bought it. Trick is, all the water was filled with the garden hose out back.

I do think it depends on the tap water. Chicago water is pretty good comparatively. However, it depends on the pipes in your house delivering said water. I cannot drink tap water unless it's ice, ice cold. Otherwise it tastes funny. We have a bottled water cooler in our house - but the bottles are recycled. It's not terribly expensive and it tastes better to me. But I will drink tap water.

 
At 4/14/2006 10:25 AM, Blogger Sadie Lou said...

I always thought that the concept of bottled water was a consumer-trick. Why should I pay a dollar for something I can get for free?
Weird.
My tap water is perfectly yummy. However, water out of the tap in hotel rooms is always warm and 'bubbly'.
Gross.

 
At 4/14/2006 10:39 AM, Blogger Squirl said...

I don't like the taste of my local water so I buy distilled water by the gallon. The cost varies from 69 to 84 cents/gallon.

We use tap water for everything except drinking water, though.

 
At 4/14/2006 10:47 AM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

Wow, I wasn't aware of any of those stats, tshsmom.

Never been a fan of bottled water myself, though I have lived places where the tap water is seriously gross. The small town I grew up in had a constant boil water warning because of giardia, but we never boiled water growing up and we never had giardia. And it was the best tasting tap water ever.

I think it was the brilliant David Suzuki who said the answer to the world's water problems is NOT bottled water. Again, we're being pretty shortsighted about this issue, and I must agree with Sadie: it's about marketing more than anything.

 
At 4/14/2006 11:27 AM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Not many of us have mentioned those add on water treatment thingies which are probably worth while. The water in Philly is sooo bad that when you turn on the tap you can smell the chloring two rooms away, and THAT was 25 years ago.

Vest you are WAY too healthy!!!!!

 
At 4/14/2006 11:38 AM, Blogger Davey said...

I have invented powderd water but am stumped with what to add.

 
At 4/14/2006 2:33 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

VV, I'm a recycling Nazi! I'm constantly pulling stuff out of the garbage at work.
We're lucky, we have recycling trailers located around town. The only thing that HAS to go to the recycling center is magazines and catalogs. I just keep a box on the porch for those and take them out about twice a year.

Vest and Bridg, if our water was questionable, I'd have one of those filtration systems.

Laura, I've got to have COLD water too. I've seen a LOT of shows and taste tests, and bottled water NEVER wins!

Sadie, it's chic to have a bottle of designer water in one hand, and a cell phone in the other. ;)

Squirl and WC, I've read that virtually ALL the water systems in MN and Ontario have been infected with "beaver disease"(can't remember the scientific name). Chlorine is the only thing that will kill it. It's so virulent that you can get sick from breathing the steam from untreated bath or shower water. A lot of people preach about the evils of chlorine, but I'll take my water chlorinated any time!

You're a GENIUS, Davey. heehee

 
At 4/14/2006 5:35 PM, Blogger SME said...

Flavored bottled water is good. But specialty bottled water like Penta (supposedly more hydrating than any other water), diet water, and Kabbala water are just...well, probably tapwater! Davey's on to something big with the powdered stuff. ;D
I saw that episode of "Bullshit!" - hilarious.

 
At 4/14/2006 8:20 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Davey: presumably you mean 'Dehydrated Water', its a Ghostly myth except here in Oz. Where I live, we have an over supply awaiting activation, if the SOLUTION is not soon found, we will be down to one shower a week per person, not a pleasant thought.

Read my post on "Water Water Everywhere".

 
At 4/14/2006 8:52 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Your water supply is definitely dehydrated, Vest. I'm wishing for rain in your future. ;)

SME, I used to buy the flavored water (in BIG bottles), for Z to take to school. I've also dabbled with flavoring my own.

 
At 4/15/2006 12:20 PM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

Depends where you live. Her in farm country, tap water often contains very high leves of nitrogen and other fertilzers, as farmers ALWAYS over fertilize. I heard on the news the other day that communities in Iowa who get ther water from the Des Moines river actually have "blue baby alerts". So much nitrogen in the water it compromises the bodies ability to process oxygen. Especially serious for infants and the frail elderly. So everyone in those towns are advised to buy bottled water during planting season.

Personally, since virtually all our grocery stores have reverse osmosis/activated charcoal/uv water filtering machines, thats were I get my water. 39 cents a gallon. Tastes great.

 
At 4/15/2006 3:52 PM, Blogger European said...

Our tapwater is chlorinated... ick! I have an active coal faucet filter that works really well, and I refill water bottles to take along wherever I go unless I forget ;).

 
At 4/15/2006 11:01 PM, Blogger Candace said...

Yikes! I bought some lined aluminum water bottles at Target to save money and bypass the plastic stuff leaching into the water, and now I'm even more glad!! Holy moly!!

 
At 4/15/2006 11:02 PM, Blogger Vest said...

As a general rule in OZ most govt authorities are over zealous when it comes to recycling.In New South Wales we have a grass and garden waste bin 4 cub ft collected ft/ntly. A similar size bin emptied Weekly with a divider,one side for garbage the other side for R/Cs, which accepts anything deemed R/Cs, these items must be cleaned beforehand. it is a punishable offence to discard R/Cs to the garbage section. Four extra clean ups per year are allowed by local authorities, and strict collection rules apply. alternativly use a contractor or take it to the tip yourself.

 
At 4/15/2006 11:12 PM, Anonymous gordon said...

hi vesty-- im a C of E -- are we recyclable as well-- ha ha ha

 
At 4/16/2006 9:46 AM, Blogger Squirl said...

Happy Easter!

 
At 4/16/2006 12:53 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

GWB, Euro, and Candace, those are the options I was talking about. Bravo! We have insulated water bottles with a shoulder strap. I fill them 1/4 full and freeze them before we use them. The water stays cold for hours.

Vest, our country had a GREAT recycling program during WWII. We should have continued it after the war ended. :(

 
At 4/16/2006 12:54 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Happy Easter Squirl! Enjoy your vacation.

 
At 4/16/2006 6:58 PM, Blogger Vest said...

Gordon:( I am a C of E are we recyclable too)

Yes, C of Es if totally worn out(Lapsed) are recyclable. I have been reliably informed they return to be used as born again Christians.

 
At 4/21/2006 10:26 AM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

86% of plastic water bottles in the U.S. aren't recycled.

Laziness? Come on Americans. If I can do it, you can too.

Yeah, I'm one of those people who uses the plastic bottles for work, but at home, I use one of those Brita filters. The tap water in Colorado Springs was wonderful and supposebly the tap water in Chicago was some of the best. However, our tap water here is not that tasty. The tap water in Houston was plain our nasty.

 
At 4/23/2006 6:43 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

How did I KNOW that you'd be with me on this one ZS?
If our water was questionable, we'd have a filter system too.

 

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