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The Reluctant Environmentalist Blog


Post #3:  Water, Water Everywhere

April 24, 2008


Water is the healthiest drink around.  Eight full glasses of water a day are best, they say.  No sodas or diet sodas—sugar, phosphates, caffeine.  A plain glass of water, instead! 


The thing is, water doesn’t often come in glasses now.  We have the plastic water bottle.


And mind-boggling statistics:  To make 28 million plastic water bottles a year (with the resulting tons of landfill), we use 1.5 million barrels of oil and emit a billion pounds of carbon dioxide:


I’d like to sing this to the plastic water bottle, using that old “breakup” tune:


Got along without ya

Before I met ya.

Gonna get along without ya now!


Can I, though?  I drink water from plastic bottles.  I meet rows of them every day.  They stare at me from the on-campus and in-town spots where I eat lunch, boasting their mountain-spring-fed, supposedly pure water.  Don’t I want to be healthy?


And don’t I want to be polite?  At lunch workshops on our campus, soft drinks and bottled water are the drink menu.  I’ve considered going into the ladies’ room to slurp water from the faucet after eating my sandwich wrap.  Would that be rude?


Which brings up water fountains.  I associate water fountains with fifth-grade boys in (my) elementary school who spat into them or mashed chewed gum over the spout.  How’s the germ level in today’s fountains? 


But I digress to the land of paranoia.  I’m betting we can fundamentally Trust the Tap, despite that flare-up about prescription drugs in the water.  Filters reassure us even more.


Maybe I could tote around a little pottery cup in my pocket.  Then if lunch counters (and Sodexo) would place pitchers of iced tap water on tables, I’d be all set.  How about you? 


News and Tips from the Blogosphere:


Some say bottled water, not tap water, holds the dangers.  Plastic dangers. Some say if you buy bottled water, don’t re-use the plastic bottle, period.  And don’t buy bottled water with a 3, 6, or 7 inside the little plastic “recycling triangle.” These points and others are on this video:  


People are especially suspicious of Bisphenol-A (BPA) in many plastics.  After a recent study, Naglene has stopped making its refillable water (and baby!) bottles because of BPA.  The NYTimes tells us what happened to the rats: .


On the web, refillable water bottles are much debated.  One blog plays with the idea that plastic water bottles are among the things white people like: .   Tongue-in-cheek, they recommend Sigg aluminum refillable bottles because they’re “cutting edge” trendy.  Use lined aluminum or stainless steel, says


Seattle has banned bottled water: city won’t buy it now.  San Francisco and Ann Arbor have banned it, too. Chicago taxes it.  Any ideas here?


Planning a Fumble:


Sometimes I buy my lunch sandwich at a drive-through.  My bad, yes, it’s on my Reluctant To-Do List.  Their ice water comes in a huge paper cup.  I re-use the cup.  


So next time, I could hand them a used paper cup to put my ice water in.  Too odd?  

Well, a good laugh about the crazy lady with her paper cup could brighten their day.