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Plastic water bottles myth or legend?

Only 27% of all plastic trash is recycled, are we choking our landfills with water bottles?
Only 27% of all plastic trash is recycled, are we choking our landfills with water bottles?
EPA photo

Once upon a time clean fresh drinking water was virtually free. Public water fountains were everywhere, restaurants gave it away, and your local water utility provider charged you about $1.00 per thousand gallons. Today that fee has skyrocketed to about $3.00 or $4.00 per thousand gallons depending on where you live in Metro Atlanta, still a bargain by any stretch.

Somewhere along the way, some marketing genius convinced us all to begin drinking bottled water. Bottled water was chic, it was safer than tap water, it was transportable, and it definitely tasted better, so we were told. So for about $1.00 to $5.00, per 12 ounces, you were on the cutting edge of a new movement. But like all great movements, the plastic water bottle may have seen better days.

Bottled water is a multi-billion business with marketing that makes you believe that your water comes from a natural mountain spring when in fact 40% of all bottled water is tap water. Neither EPA nor the FDA certify bottled water. Bottled water is loosely regulated by the FDA however 60 to 70% of all bottled water is totally exempt from FDA since it is packaged and sold within the same state.

Other items of interest include:

* Plastics are a rapidly growing segment of the Municipal Solid Waste landfill stream
* About 30 million tons of plastics were delivered to landfills in 2008 representing 12% of all trash transported to Municipal landfills
* Plastic recycling is not keeping pace with the volume of plastic trash generated each year, the actual recycling rate is only about 27% of all plastic
* Recycling 1 ton of plastic saves about 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space
* Health risks have risen lately regarding toxic chemicals leaching into the water from the plastic bottles, and also new concerns over the reuse of plastic bottles
* The 2008 Keep America Beautiful campaign collected and recycled 189,000,000 plastic bottles from U.S. highways, waterways and public parks
* Plastics in the U.S. are made primarily from natural gas (70%) and petroleum products. Making plastic, recycling plastic, and transporting plastic bottles consumes energy, releases toxic pollutants and contributes to CO2 generation
* A plastic bottle takes about 1,000 years to biodegrade, what we throw away today our great grandchildren will inherit

The easiest most cost effective way to handle, transport, and utilize your personal water supply is to use stainless steel bottles which you fill from your tap water, clean, and reuse as necessary. If you wish to take the worry out of tap water due to localized concerns, you can install a water filtration or reverse osmosis system on your tap. This will provide you with an unlimited supply of pure, safe, worry free water for less than a penny per gallon.

Saving tomorrow begins today!



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