Friday, 21 October 2005

Water, water everywhere. Bottles, bottles everywhere

In the USA alone, 30 million bottles are thrown away because of the developed world's obsession with bottled water. Some are plastic, some are glass. Some go to landfill, some are accumulated as litter by the roadside. Even those that are recycled (virtually none are reused) use huge amounts of energy in the recycling process. And there is no evidence that most of this water is any healthier than the water that comes out of a tap (or faucet for that matter). In fact some of it is quite possibly less healthy.

Oh, and I forgot to say, that figure of 30 million, is per day. Which equates to 10,950,000,000 a year. And that in the USA alone. Surely this must equate to one of the biggest environmental disasters of the 21st century. Millions of those people buying those millions of bottles of water worldwide must be claiming to be environmentally friendly; they must be making donations to green organisations. How can they justify supporting an industry that is helping destroy the planet as surely as any other energy-dependent industry? Pause and think of all the energy used in making the bottles, filling them, transporting them, disposing of them. And all for a commodity that comes almost free out of a tap.

I was horrified to see in the wake of the tsunami, earthquake and other disasters, relief organisations shipping pallet loads of small bottles of water. Compounding natural disasters with man-made disasters ? when water can be shipped (as it was in the past) in reusable tanks.

It has often been claimed that wars of the 21st century would be fought over water ? and seeing the profligate waste of water and the overpackaging of it, I cannot but think that the poorer half of the world must think the richer half is completely mad. And yet such is the power of advertising and marketing, I will also bet that the purveyors of bottled water are now looking to the impoverished countries of the world to expand their markets.

1 comment:

  1. It is absolutely ridiculous. I admit I sometimes buy water when out and about, but that's purely because I've forgotten to bring some and if I'm going to buy a drink I'd rather drink water than fizzy drinks - and it's not always possible to pop into a shop and ask for tap water!

    Here's a scary insight into how politicians spend their money: "The 2004 House of Commons spend on bottled water was over £11,000 (equivalent price of tap water: £25)" [From an article in]