Following our last story on Coke and plastic water bottle sales in the Grand Canyon, Peter Gleick recently published a book called " Bottled & Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession With Bottled Water" that examines the affect of consuming bottled water, at the expense of our planet, and our pocket book.
At a time where corporate ownership of anything, especially something as essential as water, has people all riled up, Gleick investigates the reasons why we’ve turned to bottled water :
"I believe that bottled water is a symptom of a larger set of issues: the long-term decay of our public water systems, inequitable access to safe water around the world, our susceptibility to advertising and marketing, and a society trained from birth the buy, consume, and throw away."
According to the book, every second of every day, a thousand Americans buy and drink a plastic bottle of commercially produced water, adding up to 85 million bottles a day.
This of course is bad for the environment, as Gleick explains:
"Making the plastic for a liter bottle of water actually takes three or four more liters of water itself. The real problem, though is the energy cost: PET itself is typically made from petroleum. Making a kilogram of PET, which is enough for around 30 one-liter plastic bottles, takes around 3 liters of petroleum. More energy is then required to turn that PET into bottles, to filter, ozone, or otherwise purify the water, to run the bottling machines, and to chill the bottle before use. And even more substantively, it takes a lot of energy -- almost all in the form of fossil fuels -- to move the finished product to the place where you buy it… Put all these different pieces together -- materials, production, and transportation -- and the energy costs of bottled water can be the oil equivalent of a quarter or more of the volume of the bottle. And this energy cost is a thousand times larger than the energy required to procure, process, treat, and deliver tap water."