If you set out to design the most wasteful product possible, you’d be hard pressed to out do bottled water. Shockingly, though, it is now America’s best-selling beverage, having finally surpassed soda in sales last year. While that might be good news for our waistlines, it’s bad news for the environment as just a brief review of the numbers shows.
According to the Pacific Institute, the manufacture and transportation of bottled water creates more than 2.5 million tons of CO2 each year. One ton of CO2 gas is what you’d get from driving 3,700 miles in a 2013 Toyota Camry, which would take you from New York City to the most northern tip of Washington State with around 700 miles to spare. 2.5 million tons of CO2? Well, that’s equivalent to driving around the world 362,420 times!
Bottled water also creates tons of water waste. The bottling process wastes 3-4 liters of water for every liter of bottled water produced, which is about 2.6 billion liters of water wasted per week. Just imagine a standard above ground swimming pool for a moment. 2.6 billion liters could fill 230,873 of those!
Producing the bottles is an energy intensive process that creates its own waste. In fact, it takes about 17 million barrels of oil to make all of that plastic. And we’re not even counting the oil wasted from trucking those bottles around after they’re filled!
Lastly, all that bottled water water creates tons of plastic waste - literally! 50 billion single-use bottles are produced each year, of which 38 billion go unrecycled. That means millions of tons of plastic are being dumped into our oceans and landfills every year.
All of this waste for a product that is often just filtered tap water. In fact, nearly half of the bottled water on the market is sourced from municipal water supplies, including Aquafina and Dasani. Basically, we’re paying companies like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Nestle to bottle our tap water, truck it around the country, and sell it back to us at a 1,000% markup!
Let’s ditch bottled water. Your wallet and planet will thank you.