Bottles, Bottles Everywhere…

Plastic Bottles2

Top Reasons NOT to Buy Bottled Water

1. Expense!

If you are getting your recommended 8 glasses of water daily from the tap, you are spending around .50 cents – a year. If you are buying bottled water to achieve your 8 glasses, you are spending upwards of $1400.00 annually!

2. Purity

Nearly one quarter of bottled water sold in the U.S. is just filtered municipal water. At least half of the remaining 75% is estimated to be plain, unfiltered tap water. The EPA regulates our tap water, but the FDA regulates bottled water and the FDA doesn’t require the same stringent testing nor do they share their information with the EPA. A four year study of the Bottled Water Industry by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reported:

One brand of “spring water” whose label pictured a lake and mountains, actually came from a well in an industrial facility’s parking lot, near a hazardous waste dump, and periodically was contaminated with industrial chemicals at levels above FDA standards.

3. The Cost to the Environment

The U.S. has a yearly 50 billion disposable plastic water bottle habit. It is estimated that only 23% are actually recycled, resulting in 38 billion bottles ending up in landfills, incinerators or our waterways. And keep in mind, these numbers do not reflect worldwide disposable bottle impacts.

A few municipalities are passing bills and ordinances to ban the single serving, disposable water bottle from city-sponsored events, and even city-owned property (San Francisco, CA & Concord, MA). Many national parks already ban plastic bottles, the single largest source of trash in most parks.

4. Precious Resources

The resource load in manufacturing plastic water bottles is hefty. To meet the U.S. demands, we use in excess of 17 million barrels of oil annually – enough to fuel 1.3 million cars a year. Ironically, it takes 6 or 7 times the amount of a bottle’s volume in water to actually make the bottle! Water remains our most precious natural resource.

A mere 1% of the Earth’s total water is potable, so wasting water to make a bottle that is most likely destined to pollute our environment doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

5. Your Health

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is the most common plastic resin used in beverage (water bottles) and food item containers. It is essentially polyester. This plastic is designated with the #1 code (see my plastics code guide). PET is highly recyclable and manufacturers like it because it is presumably safe, strong, transparent and versatile. In reality PET can break down in extreme temperatures as well as over time and has been shown to leach chemicals (most notably, antimony) into the contents of the container.

The same NRDC Bottled Water Industry study previously mentioned found that roughly 22% of the water tested contained contaminant levels that exceeded strict state health limits. One study found that hormone-disrupting phthalates had leached into bottled water that had been stored for 10 weeks.

Single use bottles should not be reused. Most of us have received the memo to gently hand wash and never microwave any plastic containers that we are reusing, but unfortunately, the transport and storage history of the particular bottle or container remains a mystery to the consumer. We have no guarantee how long a container was in storage or that a particular water bottle wasn’t sitting in the sun for months.

Reusable glass bottles with Silicon sleeves

Reusable glass bottles with silicone sleeves

So why not invest $10 – $18 in a food-grade, stainless steel or glass bottle and fill it with your own filtered water? It’s time to kick the disposable water bottle habit and make a new habit of always having a full, reusable bottle of filtered tap water on hand.

What is BPA? Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical building block used primarily to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. BPA is in polycarbonate plastics that are used to make bottles and food containers as well as the epoxy resins used as coatings inside food and drink cans. BPA is a known hormone disruptor – which means that it imitates our natural hormones, interfering with those same hormones’ production and functions. Babies and young children are particularly sensitive to the effects of BPA. As recently as 2009, the Endocrine Society, USA expressed concern in a public statement over the current human exposure to BPA.

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*jGj can only recommend glass and food grade stainless steel as reusable bottle materials at this time. Although the most popular polycarbonate (#7) bottles (Camelbak, Nalgene, Kor…) have removed BPA (bisphenol A) from their product, what they have replaced it with remains opaque in terms of safety. As a rule of thumb, avoid #3 & #7 plastic beverage bottles. For more on plastic safety and BPA replacements, check out this great Amy Goodman interview with Mother Jone’s reporter, Mariah Blake.

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About the Author

Here at Jenny Green Jeans, by sharing success stories and easy-to- implement tips, I hope to inspire and empower you to continue to make sustainable choices in your life and watch how far the impact goes. Contact me with any questions or suggestions you may have.

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