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Posted on 11.06.2015 and updated on 12.06.2015
The first documented case of bottled water being sold was in Boston, US during the1760s. The practice has been on the rise ever since.
In fact in 2008, the US alone drank approximately 34 billion litres of bottled water - this has increased by around 10% each year since and is predicted to continue doing so globally.
Unfortunately most available statistics relate to the US, however they still offer a good idea of the global issue. For instance in the US annually, 17 million barrels of oil are used to make water bottles. To put this in perspective, this is enough oil to fill one million cars for a whole year.
But it’s not only a huge amount of oil used to produce water bottles, it takes three times the amount of water to make these bottles as it does to fill them.
Then there’s the landfill issue. Of the 30 billion water bottles sold in the US in 2005 for instance, only 12% of these were recycled. That means the other 88% ended up in landfill. Clean Up Australia adds that plastic bottles are among the 10 most common rubbish items picked up on Clean Up Australia Day.
Scary,right? And that’s only the environmental impact of bottled water! Then there’s the health issues…
Health advocates recommend not reusing bottles made from plastic #1, also known as PET (this includes most disposable water, soft drink and fruit juice bottles). According to studies, such bottles may be safe for one-time use, but re-use should be avoided because they may leach DEHP (a probable human carcinogen) into water when they are inless-than-perfect condition.
Another health risk associated with bottled water according to studies is the potentialfor BPA (or bisphenol A) to leach into water from the bottle. BPA is an estrogen mimicking chemical that has been linked to a number of serious health problems such as learning and behavioural difficulties, fertility problems, prostate and breast cancer, diabetes and obesity.
It turns out the cost of bottled water is far more than the $3 you hand over at the cash register!
So... don’t like the sound of any of this? Just stop or limit your purchases of bottled water. Buy a water filter and bottle your own water at home – it’s cheaper,safer and less taxing on the environment. There are plenty of refillable nontoxic water bottles available to buy and a water filter will provide you with an unlimited supply of safe, filtered water all for the minimal cost of changing filters every 6 – 12 months.
Interestingly, local towns around Australia are starting to take notice of the issue and are taking positive action. Bundanoon in NSW for instance, banned the sale of all bottled water way back in 2009 and bans are now also in place at Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College in Sydney, the University of Canberra and the Southbank campus of the Victorian College of the Arts.