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In the gym, on the subway, at the restaurant, in the home…Just a few of the million spots we see our health crazed, consumer-driven generation toting around our other appendage: bottled water. In 2005 we Americans consumed over 8.2 billion gallons of bottled water, accounting for sales of nearly $11 billion, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation. Worst of all, that represents a disastrous amount of energy, essentially wasted in the production, transportation and disposal of plastic bottles. “It would be like filling up a quarter of every bottle with oil,” says Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute.
But, bottled water is healthier for us, right? Not necessarily. According to an MSNBC report, 25% of bottled water is simply re-processed municipal water. In addition, the federal standards for municipal level drinking water are more stringent than those for its bottled counterpart.
A standing ovation to likes of Alice Waters and her ban of bottled water at the tables of much renowned Chez Panisse, her Berkeley, CA restaurant. Back east Joseph Bastianich and Mario Batali’s Del Posto in New York is also chasing away the bottle frenzy: kudos.
So, the moral of the story is, let’s move out of the dark ages and into the sustainable age. We should be carrying around reusable containers for our water needs. Start saving $2 every time you would have chugged a Poland Spring and simultaneously avoid another quarter-bottle of oil from being burned to make that bottle. The same goes for water’s cousin, coffee, but we will save that topic for another day.
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