The bottled water industry is a rapidly expanding business- to illustrate, consumers spend $100 billion collectively on this product each year. Most buyers perceive bottled water as being more clean and better than regular tap water, and it is thought to have a positive health impact. But what about its environmental impacts?
Unfortunately, the industry is generally proclaimed as having a negative environmental impact. An excess of energy and resources are used in the process of manufacturing and transporting the bottles, and even worse is its generation of solid waste- the used plastic bottles.
According to the calculations of the Pacific Institute, the bottled water industry process for making the plastic bottles for those used up in the US utilizes as much as 17 million barrels of oil each year, which is enough to power 100,000 for 1 year.
Aside from the making of these bottles, additional resources are used to transport the products. A number of brands are imported and therefore have to be transferred through large distances via ship, rail transit, or truck. So much energy and resources are employed just for the process of transporting a product from where it was manufactured, to stores, and finally to the consumer. For example and as described at best-bottled-water.com, 250g of CO2 is produced for each bottle of Fiji Water shipped to the USA-this is composed of 93g to make the water bottle in China, 46 for moving the bottle to Fiji where it is filled with water, and 153g for transporting the bottle to the USA.
And although the plastic bottles are made up of material that are generally recyclable, 80% of the bottled water bottles consumed in the USA just end up in landfills. Recycling rates are even lower worldwide, with 90% of the bottles not being recycled.
Unlike tap water, the manufacturing and transportation of the product uses up large amounts of oil, fossil fuels, and other resources. It also adds waste to landfills. Furthermore, what consumers need to know is that city tap water undergoes rigorous testing and has purification standards. Tap water testing is actually done more frequently than that for some commercial water brands.
Some entities, like a water wholesaler in the Santa Clara County of Northern California, are even urging people to drink tap water to reduce the negative environmental impact and reserve funds and resources. Now that you know more about the bottled water industry and its economical costs, will you still buy the product?