Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hi, I'm Willa

And I'm a bottled water addict.

Sad but true. Now, here's where I try to justify my behavior- "It's my only addiction." "I only drink bottled water away from home." "I recycle all the bottles."

Actually, I do only drink bottled water when I am away from home. Well, OK, when I am away from home, or when I am downstairs and I don't want to go upstairs to refill my glass. And sometimes during the winter the water feed for the refrigerator freezes, so of course I have to drink bottled water then. But I don't really have a bottled water problem. Or do I?

And here's where we do the intervention.

Actually, I really hadn't thought about the issues surrounding bottled water. I hadn't really even realized there were issues surrounding bottled water. But back in February, Organic Bytes, the newsletter from the Organic Consumers Association arrived in my email box, with a headline stating "Ending Bottled water addiction will save money and environment" I followed the link, and discovered this tidbit "Supplying Americans with plastic water bottles for one year consumes more than 47 million gallons of oil, according to the Container Recycling Institute. That's enough to take 100,000 cars off the road and 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Add in the additional amount of oil it takes to ship the bottles thousands of miles from extraction source to recipient, and your drink of H2O could be categorized with the "Hummers" of the world." (Organic Bytes # 103)

Add in the fact that bottled water isn't necessarily healthier, or even as well tested as tap water, and I am ready to wash this monkey off my back.

But how? And I don't mean that in a fluffy sort of way, this is a serious question for me. Here's the problem-
1) I drink a lot of water- I like to be very well hydrated.
2) I don't drink anything BUT water- no juice, teas or soda. When away from the house, there's no stopping by a convenience store and buying anything but water.
3) When in the car I can't drink and drive well, so I can't use a cup for water because it spills down the front of me.

An additional issue is that most tap water around here has too much chlorine in it for my taste. Once it has gone through the filter on the fridge, or the Britta, it's OK, but right from the tap is like drinking a swimming pool.

So- I have to find a bottle-like container that is not plastic that I can refill with filtered tap water at home and take with me. I have unpleasant childhood memories of the smell of canteens, so the stainles steel bottles are all that appealing to me. But I could get two 27 oz. bottles from Greenfeet.com for around $25.00. The only other thing that comes to mind is the glass bottles that things like Snapple and Lipton Tea come in. But in order to acquire a supply of these- (and I would need several bottles, because I'm lazy) I would either have to find a heavy consumer of these products willing to give me the bottles, or purchase them myself and throw out the stuff inside. I could purchase a LOT of Snapple for $25.00, I guess.

Any suggestions, anyone?


Whozat said...

If you're just buying a couple and reusing them, would it be ok for them to be plastic?

That's not the same as using and disposing of lots and lots and lots of bottles, right?

What about the reusing bottles you've already bought?

Or is there something about something leeching out of them with repeated use?

I hope not, because I drink almost exclusively from a stash of plastic juice bottles that I've saved!

Willa said...

Yup- there is some evidence that PET bottles- like water bottles, shouldn't be reused because of the danger of bacterial contamination, and polycarbonate should not be reused because of leaching of BPA, which mimics human estrogen. This Sierra Club article talks about those issues- http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/200311/lol5.asp
This Chicago Tribune article from March 7 talks about the shortage of glass baby bottles in light of the BPA problem http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/200311/lol5.asp
And this study talks about leaching of toxins from PET bottles

Especially now, you should be taking care with stuff like this.