Bottled Water

Analyzing Effect of Bottled Water

About 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water. Despite the abundance of this resource, people spend 35 billion dollars a year buying purified water that has been pre-bottled in a factory, and an additional 70 billion to dispose of the plastic bottles (NRDC). It is estimated that two gallons of water is wasted to “purify” one gallon of bottled water and for the price of one disposable bottle of water, a person can use 1,000 gallons of tap water (Howard). The bottled water industry is booming, but in terms of sustainability, bottled water is wasteful, costly, and no better for the consumer then American tap water (Ferrier, 2001).
Bottled water produces up to 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year. The plastic used to bottle water is high quality and requires up to 47 million gallons of oil per year to produce (Ferrier, 2001). The quality of the plastic makes the old bottles a high-demand recycling item, but 80% of them are put into landfills where they can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade. Some suggest reusing the disposable plastic bottles is the best way to handle the waste. In reality, reused bottles may be contaminated with bacteria and other disease-causing organisms. Reusing the bottles may expose people to unhealthy microorganisms, especially if the bottles are not washed appropriately after each use (FDA, 2002).   In addition to the tolls on the environment from production and destruction of the plastic bottles, the transportation of 22 million tons of the bottled water uses fossil fuels and results in the release of large amount of harmful emissions (Howard). The use of these fuels litters the atmosphere with carbon which, debatably, traps heat in our atmosphere contributing to global warming.
The Natural Resource Defense Council estimated that 25 percent or more of bottled water is nothing more than tap water. So why is it that Americans are spending four cents more, per ounce, on water then on...