Lately, I’ve been thinking about plastic bottles… where they come from and where they go. This is what I’ve found out:
First, as the recent Reader’s Digest cover-story tells, it takes oil to make water bottles. If you filled a regular-sized water bottle with about an inch of petroleum, then you’d have enough petroleum to make that bottle. Plus, 17 million barrels of oil are needed each year to make the bottles– that’s enough fuel to power a million cars for a year.
Second, as the documentary FLOW (For Love Of Water) points out, the water doesn’t come from a spring in Poland or from a glacier. Much of it comes from the tap. Companies draw it from municipal sources, or from lakes, and then you pay for it. This situation becomes a convoluted mess when considering the legal aspects of a foreign company selling public water from, say, the Lake Michigan basin back to US citizens for substantial profit. The Swiss company Nestle is reviewed in FLOW. (Don’t worry, domestic giants have their share of issues.)
Finally, just a thought about where all these bottles go. Multiply the hundreds of bottles an average family uses each year by the number of families in America, and you have a mess of empty bottles on your hands. The good part? If my master built me a raft out of them, I could sail to Hawai’i and get $0.05 for each one after I arrive. The bad part? I’m sure most of them actually wind up in a landfill.
Meanwhile, bottled water sales skyrocket. Why? Perhaps humans just like the thought of drinking water from a pristine alpine glacier… or, at least, from a plastic bottle labeled with a picture of a pristine alpine glacier.
Now that you know that most of your bottled water– even the fancy-sounding stuff like Dasani–simply comes from the tap, please consider buying a canteen or nice re-useable water container rather than all those bottles… if every human had one, then you would never even have to worry about having enough containers at a party or picnic.
At the very least, watch the preview for FLOW below, which Wired Magazine called “The scariest movie at the Sundance Film Festival” the year it came out. You can watch FLOW instantly on netflix.com.