Friday, January 23, 2009

Bottled Water No Longer Fashionable

Kaye George is a violinist, composer, mystery reviewer, and writer. Her short stories have appeared in Web Mystery Magazine, FMAM, Writer's Post Journal, Hard Luck Stories, Mysterical-E, and Mouth Full of Bullets. Four stories have won awards, the latest for Mysterical-E's Summer 2008 issue. She lives in Texas. Read Kaye George's short story "Handbaskets, Drawers, and a Killer Cold" in Crooked at

News flash! It is no longer fashionable to carry around a store-bought water bottle. I just declared it. It is not cool, and it isn't even healthy. Not if you want to live on this planet for a few more years.

Here are some facts that fly in the face of the practicality of buying bottles filled with water.

(1) In this tight economic climate, it's too expensive! In the United States in 2006, bottled water consumption reached a record 8.3 billion gallons, 185 million gallons of which was imported. The total amount spent on bottled water was between $11 and $16, which is more than we spent on iPods or movie tickets.

(2) It's too expensive to get the bottles to the stores. In contrast to tap water, which is distributed through an energy-efficient infrastructure, transporting bottled water long distances involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels. Nearly a quarter of all bottled water crosses national borders to reach consumers, transported by boat, train, and truck.

(3) And also too expensive to get the water into the bottles. It costs more money to drink bottled water than to put gas in your car--up to five times more--due mainly to its packaging and transportation. From, bottled water costs between $1 and $4 per gallon, and 90 percent of the cost is in the bottle, lid and label. It takes over 1.5 million barrels of oil to manufacture a year's supply of bottled water. That's enough oil to fuel 100,000 cars.

(4) What in the heck is in those bottles? You don't really know. Bottled water companies do not have to release their water-testing results to the public, whereas municipalities do.

Now, I admit that I gleaned the above facts partly from a website selling refillable bottles and home water filters (, but I've thought for awhile now (with the urging of my planet-conscious daughter who drives a hybrid) that it's a better idea to buy a refillable bottle, and refill it. From the tap.

I'm also quoting where they state that in 2006 Americans drank about 167 bottles of water each but only recycled an average of 23 percent. That leaves 38 billion water bottles in landfills. Plastic bottles take 700 years before they begin to decompose in a landfill.

I've read news stories over the last couple years about how some brands of bottled water use city tap water. If it's good enough for them—wait a minute—we're PAYING for tap water? Whoa! That's just not right!

I know it's terribly convenient to buy water this way, but it's better or your pocketbook, your planet, and my daughter's peace of mind, not to. You can make 2009 greener and your pocketbook healthier if you pass up the bottled water next time you grocery shop. Instead, buy a washable, refillable bottle. Save your money! Save the planet!


Anonymous said...

Singer Sheryl Crow blames her breast cancer on bottled water. She'd leave the bottles in her car on hot days and the chemicals in the bottles leached into the water. She now uses tap water and stores it in an aluminum bottle that she can clean and use over and over again.

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