It’s becoming increasingly clear that if you want to live a green lifestyle, you need to reduce your carbon footprint. You can do that in a number of ways, such as eating less meat. Another effective way is to reduce your own dependency on petroleum-based products, namely, bottled water.
Bottled Water Equals Waste
There’s no getting around it. Plastic water bottles generate waste. It’s not a small amount either. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), plastic water bottles added over one million tons to the municipal solid waste stream in 2007. Of that amount, less than 40 percent is recovered for recycling.
Adding to these environmental woes is that fact that the plastic bottles that end up in landfills do not degrade quickly. Despite changes in packaging, plastic persists in the environment. While plastic makes up just over 12 percent of the total municipal waste, continued use threatens to increase the impacts of non-biodegradable waste.
The irony of bottled water is the amount of water it takes to make water available for use. Its production requires enormous amounts of energy. A study by Food and Water Watch estimated that bottled water used the energy equivalent of up to 54 million barrels of oil to bring products to market in 2007.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not banned BPA or bisphenol A. However, its presence in some types of plastic bottles remains a concern. Most plastic water bottles may not contain it. The problems still remain with how you use bottles.
Repeated use increases the risk of bacteria development, especially if the bottles are damaged. Scratches leave spaces to harbor bacteria that can be harmful if the contents get warmed, such as keeping water in the car on a hot day. Some individuals may routinely re-use plastic water bottles because of the expense. The more you re-use bottles, the greater is your risk for health effects.
It’s hard to deny the convenience of bottled water. Because of the environmental costs, it makes sense to plan ahead and use a reusable bottle instead. You’ll save money as well as reduce your own environmental impact. It is a simple change that can have significant benefits.