If you have the privilege of living in Colorado, you know that it is not as much of a decision as it might be in other parts of the country. Having spent a good part of my youth in Florida, there is no comparison to the clear, cold, fresh elixir that comes out of Colorado taps. It is probably more refreshing than any you can get out of a bottle. The local Utility Company recently published a report on the quality of our drinking water, and there were some interesting ideas shared that might make you think twice before shelling out any more money on bottled water:
Because it is considered a food product, bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. As such, it is only necessary for them to test products that you are purchasing off the store shelves from individual manufacturers once per year for contaminants. Often, those same distributors are using local tap water in their areas to fill your bottles. (Gross!) And the companies that fill those bottles don’t have to release their results to the public, but the results from continual testing by our Utility Company are public record.
The amount of money we spend on bottled water is rather insane. On average, a liter of bottled water (approximately 34 ounces) costs 87 cents. A gallon of fresh Colorado Springs water (approximately 128 ounces) costs less than a penny. And if you are anything like me, drinking out of a nice glass with ice is a much more pleasant experience than a plastic bottle that has been touched by heaven-only knows how many hands before it reaches your lips.
The energy needed each year just to make the bottles from which Americans drink would be enough to fuel over 100,000 cars annually. Long before it was the national epidemic it is today, consumers in the United States spent over $11 BILLION dollars on bottled water in 2006. Today, the average US consumer uses almost 200 bottles of water each year. With a population of over 300 million people, that is a frightening statistic.
But probably the main concern that we should have about bottled water is the incredible harm that it is causing to our environment in having to dispose of the non-biodegradable ‘carcass.’ Estimates are that it will take the average bottle 1000 years to degrade. There are currently over two million tons of plastic bottles in US landfills. That’s FOUR BILLION POUNDS of plastic so far that may be around for the next twenty-five generations.