For years Australians relied exclusively on tap and rain water for drinking. Now purchasing expensive, so called healthier bottled water in single use plastic bottles, has become a way of life for many.
WHY DO WE BUY BOTTLED WATER IN THROW AWAY PLASTIC BOTTLES?
Well consumers claim that Its convenient and that it tastes better. Bottled water is constantly promoted as pure and natural, but research has shown us that much of it is just purified tap water with a fancy label. As seen on the ABC’s war on waste series, bottled spring water often is much more acidic than tap water and has less essential minerals then tap water.
In Australian the tap water guidelines are far more stringent than the code that regulates bottled water industry.
SO YOU DECIDE… Is it really worth the devastating effects of single use plastic water bottles are having on our environment and wildlife?
Refilling stations are a sustainable way to get quality water without the environmental impacts associated with single use plastic bottles
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Environmental Impacts of bottled spring water
In extraction: The setup of the spring water extraction facilities usually involves clearing of land and the natural habitat. Spring water is extracted from underground aquifers upstream from where the water surfaces. This disrupts the aquifers natural flow, affecting flora and fauna.
In production: Most bottled water is packaged in PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles which are derived from crude oil. It can take up to 3 litres of water to produce 1 litres of water.
In transportation: Transportation of bottled water around the world requires burning of fossil fuels to power trucks and ships. Contributing to the increasing air pollution.
In landfill and the litter stream: Although plastic bottles are recyclable, many end up in landfill and take up to 1000 years to break down. When littered they often end up in our waterways, rivers and the oceans where they break up in small pieces, which kill marine and bird life because they mistake them for food.
What can we do?
The best thing we can do is avoid buying single use plastics bottles.
Buy a reusable bottle and fill it up at a refill station.
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Did you know?
- For every ton of PET produced, 3 tons of carbon dioxide is released
- Energy is required to fill bottles with water, and in transport, refrigeration, recycling and disposal of water bottles
- We can visually represent the energy embodied in a water bottle by filling one quarter of the bottle with oil. This is because it can take 250mL of oil to produce 1L of bottled water.
- Think about the ‘energy miles’ that your water bottle has travelled. If you must buy bottled water, minimise energy miles by buying local.
- What are you paying for? A large proportion of the cost of a water bottle comes from producing the plastic bottle, lid and label.
- Plastic bottles are among the ten most common rubbish items picked up on Clean Up Australia day