Water bottles everywhere, not a drop of plastic to spare

by Melissa Turley

Tap vs. bottled has been a battle over water raging since 1965 when the first re-sealable top and vending machines were invented. While adding convenience, these two inventions have drastically transformed beverage consumption.

In the past 50 years, the amount of water bottles produced and discarded each year has increased at an exponential rate.

This photo is from flickr user Klearchos Kapoutsis: http://www.flickr.com/photos/klearchos/3380660968/in/photostream/

In doing our research for the project we found Americans, who only make up about 10 percent of the world’s population, use 28 billion water bottles a year.

That averages out to 90 bottles of water per person every year. Out of all of those water bottles used, only 20 percent end up being recycled. That means 8 out of 10 plastic water bottles end up sitting in a land fill, where it takes thousands of years for them to disintegrate.

Sure water bottles are convenient, but so is turning on the faucet and filling up a cup with tap water. Water fountains are still a prominent fixture in most schools and office buildings too. So why do we use so many water bottles?

Many people argue tap water isn’t pure or clean enough.

In our research we found Pepsi and Coca Cola, who own water bottle producing companies like Dasani and Aquafina, fill their water bottles directly from tap water. The water itself only makes up 10 percent of the water bottle’s total cost. The rest goes to marketing, packaging and shipping.

Think about this – the average price of water at a vending machine is $1.25. The means roughly 12 cents goes to the cost of water the rest is for marketing, manufacturing and profit.

The FDA only requires that bottled water be “as good as” tap water too, no better, no worse.

As described in the video below, many companies market their water bottles as “pure,” “mountain spring water” or “fresh from Fiji.” Fiji water, which costs twice as much as Dasani or Poland Spring, was taste and quality tested against American tap water. There weren’t any nutritional benefits and in taste tests, tap water won.

In the battle between tap and bottled, it seems bottled companies are coming out the real winner.

Don’t let our environment lose.

Send us your responses on Twitter: #thinkfwd

Check out “The Story of Stuff’s” take on bottled water.

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One thought on “Water bottles everywhere, not a drop of plastic to spare

  1. Hey Melissa,

    Make sure to include your name! There needs to be a bit more written content in this piece. I like the photos, but I don’t know where they came from and they dominate the post. i liek that you integrated #thinkfwd.

    Best,

    Melissa M

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