Environmental Impact of Bottled Water

Remember those good ‘ol days as a kid when you would haul that heavy and icy-compacted water bottle to the soccer field and then yearn for a sip as the end of the practice or game drew near?Bottled Water

Well since the average American began consuming 28.3 gallons of bottled water a year in 2006, up from 1.6 gallons of bottled water a year in 1976, this water bottle moment is surely becoming less frequent.

With the increased consumption of bottled water however, what is becoming more frequent is the extraction of trees to make the paper used for labeling the bottle, the amount of plastic in landfills and in our oceans if bottles are not recycled, and the necessity to extract oil from oil wells to make the plastic, including those off-shore ones (throat-clearing noise ensues).

Fortunately, there is a simple way to dodge this plastic pandemic. What is the environmental impact of bottled water?

You guess it – consume as few bottled waters as possible in the first place and/or use a reusable water bottle.

The second is by far a better option.

Alright, I understand that bottled water is such a cute and easy little concept: you conveniently grab a nicely condensated cold one from you’re fridge and then run out to that meeting or to sports practice.  This takes no time, and no thought.

But bottled water is only so convenient. Being a smart consumer and an active environmental stewardess means that you take the extra 30 seconds to fill up and refrigerate your reusable water bottle several hours before use to avoid using bottled water. Second, you will better your environmental stewardship resume by rethinking your consumption patterns.

Sure, maybe you would recycle the plastic bottles anyways, but even better is to not even use them in the first place.  Let the private companies use extracted petroleum for more important things, like medicines, clothes, and tires.

Water SavingYou may think that you are sacrificing the quality of water you drink by switching to tap water, but this is not necessarily true.

In fact, only tap water is FDA regulated and it is not stored in plastic for long periods of time, which is when bottled water plastic resins may potentially migrate into this water.

On the other hand, this last issue could also apply to reusable plastic bottles.  Read more about this debate at MNN.com and ScientificAmerica.com.

At any rate, if not for that great icy-cold moment after a game of soccer, make the simple but profound choice to reduce or altogether stop consuming bottled water for the economic and environmental benefits.

Just befriend one of those lonely 20 reusable water bottles that have been sitting around in the back of your pantry since 1995.  If you want to purchase a new one, consider either this CamelBak Insulated Water Bottle or the Nalgene Tritan Wide Mouth BPA-Free Water Bottle or the Hydro Flask Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle – all great options for all types of needs and styles.

After all, I can totally imagine a world with less bottled water waste… a world without erroneous bottles in my way as I sprint towards the soccer goal, strike a shot into the top corner, and erupt in euphoria as the imaginary Hispanic commentator in my head yells, “Gooaaaaalll!!!”

Read the other Green Blizzard, lowering your carbon footprint articles that focus on the impact of water choices on your carbon footprint.



About the author

Kenny Frankel

As graduate of the University of Maryland, Kenny has a major in Environmental Politics and Policy, so he's undoubtedly a guy well versed in environmental issues. Now, post college he is a practitioner of sustainable living and employed by solar installation company. We all will have a deeper green perspective after reading his articles because he brings a big picture insight to our everyday purchase decisions and even recycling.  As an early staff writer for Green Blizzard, Kenny covers environmental policy, big-agricultures impact on the environment, solar energy, recycling, and products made from recycled materials.