Spotlight: plastic water bottles

Three-fourths of the half-billion plastic water bottles sold in the U.S. every week go to the landfill or to incinerators. A great new video called “The Story of Bottled Water” shows how we can put a stop to it!

Annie Leonard, the activist filmmaker behind “The Story of Stuff” and “The Story of Bottled Water,” had this to say:

In the last few decades, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestle and other big beverage companies have spent untold millions making us afraid of tap water. They’ve told us that if we want to be sure what we drink is pure and clean — not to mention hip and fashionable — we should buy bottled water. After all, nobody cool or environmentally conscious drinks tap water, right?

The thing is, there are a lot of inconvenient truths the bottled water ads don’t mention:

• Bottled water is subject to fewer health regulations than tap water. In 2006, Fiji Water ran ads bragging that their product doesn’t come from Cleveland, only to have tests show a glass of Fiji water is lower quality than Cleveland tap. Oops!

• Up to 40% of bottled water is filtered tap water. In other words, if you’re concerned about what’s in your tap water, just cut out the middleman and buy a home water filter.

• Each year, according to the Pacific Institute’s Peter Gleick, making the plastic water bottles used in the U.S. takes enough oil and energy to fuel a million cars. And that doesn’t even include the fuel required to ship, fly or truck water across continents and state lines.

• Three-fourths of the half-billion plastic water bottles sold in the U.S. every week go to the landfill or to incinerators. It costs our cities more than $70 million to landfill water bottles alone each year, according to Corporate Accountability International.

There are efforts afoot in Texas to reduce this and other beverage container waste. By no coincidence, states that have deposit systems recycle at a far greater rate than Texas. Learn more about beverage container recycling here.

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