When I was younger, the only bottled water I saw was Evian and
Perrier. These were luxury items that restaurants flaunted on their
menus. By the time I reached college in the early, mid-90’s, bottled
water was everywhere: grocery stores, restaurants, vending machines,
department stores, gas stations.
Bottled water is convenient. We are told by doctors and the media
that drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day is critical for a
healthy lifestyle. With the advent of bottled water, you could drink
fresh water anywhere you please.
But how does this convenience affect Earth?
In 1978, an estimated 415 gallons of bottled water was consumed in the U.S. By 2006, that number jumped to 8.2 billion and grows daily.
According to Earth911.org,
over 1.5 million barrels of oil are needed to manufacture a year’s
supply of bottled water. 30 million PET (polyethylene terephtalate)
plastic water bottles litter landfills every day. It takes about 700
years for just one plastic bottle to even begin the decomposition
process. Chew on that for a minute.
As my daughter enters Kindergarten this year, I found myself unsure
what to do about her beverages for the day. Her school offers juice and
milk. Unfortunately, she only drinks soy milk and water. I asked about
the availability of water at the school and was told by someone that
there’s a water fountain, but was met with a curious look. She asked me
why I didn’t just give my daughter bottled water for the day. I didn’t
have the time to explain to her the dangers of bottled water. Perhaps
I’ll pull a Jerry Maguire soon and write a mission statement about
banning plastic bottles at the school.
So we decided that my daughter would just bring water with her in
some reusable water bottle. But what kind of bottle? There are so many.
I knew I had to stay away from BPA (Bisphenol A), an ingredient used
in the chemical compound that lines the insides of food containers like
water bottles, canned foods and cartons for liquids like milk and juice.
BPA mimics estrogen and can interfere with normal hormone functions and
normal behavioral and physical attributes. This hardy chemical can also
alter genes. BPA is usually found in hard clear plastics indicated as
number 7 at the bottom of the container.Everything from toys, pacifiers
and Spaghetti-O’s come in contact with this chemical, and once
ingested, BPA stores itself almost everywhere in our bodies.
Plastics numbered 3 (PVC) and 6 (Polystyrene) are also harmful because they leach harmful chemicals.
I also knew I should stay away from phthalates, a substance added to
plastics to increase their flexibility and to cosmetics to make nail
polish chip-resistant and allow scents to last longer. Phthalates are
also added to hairsprays, body deodorants, baby lotion and shampoos.
I went to Whole Foods and stumbled upon the Sigg bottle. Touted by Backpacker magazine as “The world’s toughest water bottle,” (Backpacker, June 2006) Switzerland-made Sigg bottles are made of aluminum and lined with a
non-leaching material which allows for a taste neutral effect and is
resistant to fruit acids. The Sigg bottles also come in a bevy of sizes,
designs and bottle tops (a standard bottle top, active bottle top and
screw top). There is something for everyone!
Instead of investing hundreds or thousands of dollars every year on
PET water bottles and negatively impacting our landfills, use
eco-friendly, reusable water bottles. Fill these reusable bottles up
with filtered water from Brita Pitchers or from your refrigerator,
because the water is better than most bottled water anyway, and you’ll
be saving the planet.
Sounds easy to me!