Every day I have a ritual. I open about 6 or 7 tabs; each a different news outlet. Then for the next little while I spend my time browsing these sites and seeing “what’s what”. While completing my daily routine I once again saw a common sight – articles relating to climate change. Indeed, rarely a day goes by where there isn’t some story about the latest carbon figures, or rising water levels, or another weather record being broken. Today it was US President Barack Obama decrying current climate change trends and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull apparently pledging to announce some form of assistance to vulnerable Pacific nations.
It’s clear this is a hot-button issue. In many ways, though perhaps not directly, the Back to the Tap cause is about climate change. At the heart of this campaign is a desire to do right by the environment. To stop needlessly contributing to an already out of control crisis. Despite this ultimate goal, we have yet to really delve into bottled water and its harmful environmental effects.
Let’s take a look.
Perhaps the most shocking statistic when it comes to the cost bottled water truly has is that every litre of bottled water can require anywhere from three to seven litres of water to produce! Now, when people hear this their first reaction might be to point out that 75% of the earth is water. This is little consolation since a measly 1% of that water is drinkable. Indeed, as Earth’s Friends points out; “As the world’s water supply becomes more drained by our use, there is a possibility that water bottling companies will begin to monopolize the world’s remaining supply of water.”
That’s just the water. What about oil?
Australian’s spend upwards of 500 million dollars on bottled water a year. The manufacture and transportation of this bottled water requires over 460,000 barrels of oil! A helpful way to visualize this usage of oil is to fill a bottle of water one-quarter of the way up with oil; every 1 litre of bottled water produced, requires 250ml of oil (See the above image).
On top of this, a huge amount of energy is required to transport and refrigerate all those bottles of water resulting in large levels of atmospheric pollution from fuel combustion. Cool Australia estimates a whopping 60,000 tons of greenhouse gases are produced annually to manage the nation’s bottled water.
John Dee, founder of Do Something! and campaigner against bottled water, argues that “Bottled water is often consumed away from home and there are very few facilities where you can recycle water bottles properly outside of your house”. This problem of bottled water littering is something we’ve previously discussed but it deserves a second mention. In fact, most bottled water ends up in landfill. Those that don’t are often just dumped anywhere and everywhere and can often end up in the sea where marine life can be killed by mistaking the plastic for food.
From the extraction of the spring water used to fill the bottles (a process which can damage local flora and fauna) to their haphazard disposal, bottled water is a continuous blight on our precious ecosystem.
Thankfully, there is a much better option.
Tap water has 1 percent the environmental impact of bottled water.
I don’t know about you, but I am tired of constantly hearing about climate change every time I look at what’s making news. But the only way that will happen is if we do something about it. This is that something. Or, at least, it is something to start with. It’s an easy change and one you won’t regret.
So put down the bottle and go back to the tap.
#backtothetap #choosetap #BetterThanBottled
Photo credit: portlandoregon.gov