water bottles (photo by Trinitas Imaging / Ooodit)

USA Today – Thirst for bottled water unleashes flood of environmental concerns

The problem isn’t the water, it’s the use of resources. It takes a lot of oil to make all those little bottles and ship them, sometimes halfway around the world.

Plastic water bottles produced for U.S. consumption take 1.5 million barrels of oil per year, according to a 2007 resolution passed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. That much energy could power 250,000 homes or fuel 100,000 cars for a year, according to the resolution.

Cornell University professor and environmentalist Doug James said the irony of bottled water is that it’s marketed as clean and healthy when its production contributes to unnecessary environmental degradation.

“Take Fiji water, for example,” he said. “A one-liter bottle is taken out of the aquifer of this little island, and shipped all the way across the world, producing half a pound of greenhouse gases just so you can have this one-liter bottle of water.”

Professor James found that of the 30 billion plastic water bottles sold in the United States in 2005, only 12 percent were recycled. That left 25 billion bottles landfilled, littered or incinerated.

Stop buying bottled water and reuse the ones you already have!