Bottled Water and the Environmental Impact

Bottled Water and the Environmental Impact that Follows Poor Recycling, Making of the Bottles, Transporting of the Bottled Water and more. With the Resulting Pollution, is the World Better off Drinking Tap Water?

Bottled Water and the Environmental

Think you’re doing yourself a favor by drinking bottled water? While you may feel like you are doing your body good, are you recycling that bottle? If not, the environmental impact can be catastrophic. Each one of us can contribute to cleaning up the pollution in this world by drinking tap water. (Learn how to make tap water not only safe to drink but extremely healthy for you through out this website).

It’s not just the Earth that suffers when you drink bottled water, often times it can be you. Most bottled water comes in polyethylene terephthalate bottles, indicated by a number 1, PET or PETE on the bottle's bottom. While they may seem harmless enough some scientists are now saying that if exposed to the heat for extended periods of time that the result can be a leaching of chemicals into the water. These chemicals can lead to a different chemical composition of the water and thus lead to a difference in smell and even taste. What’s worse is the fact that you are now ingesting the chemicals that are absorbed by the water and exposing your body to chemical pollution. While the effects of this pollution are not yet known, scientists are working on testing the effects of such long-term exposure to these chemicals. Suddenly tap water is sounding pretty good huh?

In an even more scary development experts have recently warned about a few specific chemicals in general. Antimony is one and is a potentially toxic material used in making PET. Scientists in Germany have found that the longer bottled water sits around, the more antimony it develops. This is troubling as there is really no telling how long that bottled water you just bought had been sitting on the shelf at the store or even in the store room before it hit the shelf for that matter. High concentrations of antimony can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

In another shocking development, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) committee agreed that bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in polycarbonate (used to make water cooler jugs, sport-water bottles and other hard plastics, but not PET), may cause neurological and behavioral problems in fetuses, babies and kids. This is a troubling discovery, but it doesn’t stop with kids. A separate study a NIH-sponsored panel found that the risk was even worse than expected. Their findings said that adult exposure to BPA likely affects the brain, the female reproductive system and the immune system. Isn’t bottled water supposed to be good for you?

While the effects to us are a staggering thought, let us not forget what the environmental impact to our Mother Earth can be as well. The pollution created by those that do not have a healthy recycling practice can be devastatingly high.

While we as a world struggle to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, making bottled water is actually increasing it. The bottles themselves are made of a substance that is directly correlated to fossil fuels. In many instances the bottled water that we consume is packaged in other countries that can be thousands of miles away. The shipping alone leads to even more fossil fuels being burned thus creating more pollution. Though the intent with bottled water is good (at least for us), the environmental impact that we are creating is anything but good.

If we took the energy it takes to make all the bottled water in the United States for one year to keep up with demand, we would save ourselves the equivalent of 17 million barrels of oil. That is enough to fuel one million cars for an entire year.

There is also the actual waste of water that goes on as well and that is not a reference to the water going down the drain when you are running your tap water. It takes about 72 billion gallons of water per year, just to make the empty bottles that the bottled water ends up in according to the Institute for Water and Watersheds at Oregon State University. Additional waste is seen as it is estimated that it takes two liters of water to make every one-liter of bottled water that you see on the store shelves.

But perhaps the most disturbing fact of all is the level of bottles that are actually recycled. Recycling is a relatively easy thing to do, yet it is estimated that only about 20 percent of the empty bottles make it to the recycling plants here in America. This means that 80 percent of the empty bottles are left to create pollution in our landfills for many years to come. Remember, that bottle of water that took you three minutes to drink will take ten thousand years to biodegrade. Talk about a negative environmental impact!

It’s not rocket science. Drinking bottled water is not the safe bet you may have thought it to be and when it comes to the health of the Earth it is worse than tap water. With so many people NOT participating in recycling these days the pollution of the Earth is growing at a pace that can’t be sustained for much longer. If it keeps up, we will be leaving our children and our grandchildren with one ugly environmental impact to have to deal with.