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Bottled Water Gets a Bad Rap

What is wrong with this picture?

These drink cases are from a local convenience store.   There are three cases of all other kinds of flavored drinks compared to one case with water.  So why is the bottled water industry vilified?

Here is some of the negative press about bottled water: It is not a good value per ounce; it is no healthier than tap water; bottled water produces garbage; and bottled water takes money away from municipal water systems.

Those of us who buy bottles of water are not looking for a bargain; we are looking for an alternative to soda and other artificial drinks.  The other drinks are no bargain, either. There are many people who do not want to buy a drink with ascorbic acid, which is added to keep the product aesthetically pleasing.  There are many people who do not drink soda.  There are many people who do not like sports drinks.  Why is there bottled water in this case? For the same reason there are 20 flavors of ice cream: so we can have a choice.  Bottled water would not be in these cases if there was not a market for them.  The other drinks produce as much waste and garbage as bottled water.  The reason we have our drinks in plastic bottles comes down to shipping weight and the fact that they usually don’t break or split when dropped.

These days, bottled drinks may be a necessary evil in our on-the-go lifestyle especially outdoor activities.  As environmental scientists,  we at Clementi Environmental work to “heal the earth, one project at a time.”  The same could be said about the bottled drink industry: let’s heal the earth, one bottle at a time.  It is incumbent upon all of us to do what we can to reduce the use of individual disposable bottled drinks, including re-using and recycling the bottles as much as possible.  A lot of products are now made from recycled plastic, e.g., compressed plastic boards for decking material.  The bottled drink industry is not the only one that produces packaging that creates a waste stream.  Look at all the products in the drug and grocery store that are in double packages; i.e., bottles inside of boxes.

Let each of us make saving our environment one bottle or box at a time be part of our collective social energies.