Tap water can change the world


It probably doesn’t seem right in the wake of the water problems in West Virginia and the setbacks in Kentucky and Ohio to be citing local tap water as a way to change the world.  But, here are some of the things I learned this morning while reading The Big Thirst by Charles Fishman that reinforced my commitment to toting water from my local faucet around with me in a reusable bottle:

“We’re moving 1 billion bottles of water around a week in ships, trains, and trucks in the United States alone.  That’s a weekly convoy equivalent to 37,800 18-wheelers delivering water.”

“We only recycle 27 percent of the plastic bottles in which our water comes–so in the United States alone we’re throwing away 36 billion plastic bottles a year, 115 discarded water bottles for each of us.”  (Note: You can watch a video on recycling bottles on YouTube here courtesy of the International Bottled Water Association.)

“Bottled water subtly corrodes our confidence in tap water, creating the illusion that bottled water is somehow safer, or better, or healthier.  In fact tap water is much more tightly regulated and monitored than bottled water.  The three largest brands of bottled water–Nestle Pure Life, Coke’s Dasani, and Pepsi’s Aquafina, which together make up 20 percent of all bottled water–are nothing but municipal tap water, repurified and packaged up for our convenience.”

“No matter what the ads say, bottled water is not, in fact, smart water.”

“Americans spent $21 billion on bottled water in 2009.” (“for an amount that wouldn’t get us through eight hours of water use at home on any given day.”)

Americans “spend $46 billion a year on all the household water we use all year long.”

Americans “spend about $29 billion a year maintaining our entire water system in the United States–the drinking water treatment plants, the pump stations, the pipes in the ground, the wastewater treatment plants.”

It seems to me that if we shifted our collective spending away from the bottled water as a habit, we could use our funds for other purposes.  I have an idea for what to do with that money (which comes to about $1.25/week or $65 per person per Fishman’s calculations).  But, first, one last quote:

FIJI Water is “bottled in a state-of-the-art factory that fills and packs more than a million bottles of water a day…to the hippest clubs and restaurants in Los Angeles (5,250 miles from Fiji) and Miami Beach (7,480 miles from Fiji).  Meanwhile, more than half the residents of the nation of Fiji do not themselves have safe, reliable drinking water.” (My emphasis.)

So, now here are some small acts that I think can make a difference.  Use your reusable water container to bring water with you from home.  If you don’t own one, please consider buying one (I am a Camelbak fan, personally, but I don’t know if their straws or bite valves are fully recyclable.   I sent the company an e-mail to check on that and will let you know what I found out.)  If you’re feeling up for it, go to water.org, read the facts and watch the videos. If you can, donate some money.  If you are feeling really driven, you can start your own fundraiser.  Whatever you do, you are making a positive change.


4 responses »

      • You have greyhounds too?? Awesome! I don’t have horses of my own but I sure would love to. They are the most magnificent majestic creatures ever!

      • We have 1 greyhound now, but have taken care of four (including our current one). Horses can be amazing. Our particular horse is very, very fond of food.

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