Here’s to Tap Water

Will Rogers had it right when he quipped, “Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don’t have for something they don’t need.” Such is the case with bottled water.

 True, it has become harder to find public water fountains today, even in schools, theatres, and parks. Where they do exist, they are often not properly maintained. However, in our homes we have good tap water available and it often tests to a higher standard than some bottled waters, according to Peter Gleick’s research.

 I appreciated reading Peter Gleick’s book, Bottled & Sold. He clearly sounded an alarm that bottled water sometimes exacts heavy dues to our natural ecosystems and wetlands.  The recyclable water bottles often end up on the roadside or in a trash can. Those of us who routinely participate in road cleanups can attest to that!

 Robert Morris, in his book, The Blue Death: Disease, Disaster and The Water We Drink, reports that 50 million water bottles are tossed into trash cans and recycling bins in the US daily. The manufacture of a single bottle requires more water than the bottle will ultimately hold and costs 1000 times the cost of tap water. Transport adds ecological impact.

 NAPCOR (National PET Container Resources) reported in 2007 that less than 25 percent of bottled water containers were actually recycled. 75 percent of the water bottles are thrown away, adding to our landfills. This practice comes at a time when we could be using the money we spend on bottled water to pay for healthier food choices.

 There’ll always be a need to have some bottled water but we’ve gone overboard. Practically every gathering, either personal or professional, now has cases of bottled water instead of pitchers of tap water. 

We can go a long way toward keeping each other well by using bottled water only when absolutely necessary, and by carrying our own water from home in our own container.

There’s more; there’s always more we can do, but small steps move toward big solutions.

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