BYOB-Bring Your Own Bottle

I recently wrote about all the waste produced at a local marathon. I emailed the race coordinators and this was the reply:

Cindy,

I wanted to thank you for bringing that to our attention. We plan on working with the city and our sponsors to make our race greener next year. We hope that the city will work with us to put recycling bins along the course and especially at the finish area. I do know after you brought it to our attention at the race site we started putting the bottles in separate bags to recycle them.

Thank you for participating in the Kids Marathon, we hope to see you at a greener event next year!

I am pleased that they intend to do better next year, but still, I don’t know how recycling didn’t occur to them in the first place. I have not heard from Publix yet. I sent them an email letting them know I was disappointed with their lack of foresight and involvement in getting the water bottles they donated recycled.

So I thought I would dredge up some facts about plasctic water bottles and bottled water. The internet can be a difficult place to do research and find reliable sources for facts. I will try to reference where I can. I found several sites that have campaigns to either end or reduce the use of bottled water. I personally took a pledge to carry my own water or to request tap water whenever I am away from home. I did that some months ago, but would like to pledge again via my blog. Please join me in pledging not to buy bottled water.

link: http://www.stopcorporateabusenow.org/campaign/think_outside_the_bottle_pledge

I pledge to Think Outside the Bottle, which means:Opting for public tap water over bottled water; and Supporting the efforts of local officials who prioritize strong public water systems over bottled water profits.

Signed by:
Waste Wear Daily
Cindy in FL

 Because water is a human right and not a commodity to be bought and sold for profit;
 Because bottled water corporations are changing the very way people think about water and undermining people’s confidence in public water systems;
 Because up to 40% of bottled water in the U.S. and Canada is sourced from municipal tap water;

 Because some bottlers have run over communities’ concerns and the environment when they extract water and build bottling plants to get local spring and ground water;

 Because bottled water travels many miles from the source, results in the burning of massive amounts of fossil fuels, and contributes to the billions of plastic bottles ending up in our landfills;

 Because worldwide there is a need for investments in public water systems to ensure equal access to water, a key ingredient for prosperity and health for all people; and

 Because solutions to ensuring water as a fundamental human right require people acting together and standing up for public water systems,

Here are some facts I found about bottled water. 

According to this NYTimes article: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/27/magazine/27Bottle-t.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

Americans will throw out more than two million tons of PET bottles this year. Even when recycled, it is hard to turn scrap PET into new bottles. More virgin material is always necessary. PET is a petroleum product; it comes from oil. The Container Recycling Institute estimates that 18 million barrels of crude-oil equivalent were needed to replace the bottles we chucked in 2005, bottles that were likely shipped long distances to begin with —from Maine or Calistoga or Fiji.

The following is from   http://www.container-recycling.org/plasfact/bottledwater.htm

But the price that consumers are paying for the bottled water itself pales in comparison to the price they’re paying for the environmental consequences of manufacturing, transport, and disposal of the bottles. The Earth Policy Institute estimates that making bottles to meet the US demand for bottled water requires more than 1.5 million barrels [Correction: 15 million barrels] of oil annually, enough to fuel 100,000 cars for a year.

Transport and disposal of the bottles adds to the resources used, and water extraction – which is concentrated in communities where bottling plants are located – adds to the strains bottled water puts on our ecosystem.

What happens to plastic single-serving water bottles after they’re drained?

Only about one in six plastic water bottles sold in the US in 2004 was recycled, leading to a national recycling rate of about 17%. According to the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) 4637 million pounds (2103 million kg) of PET beverage, food, and non-food bottles were sold in 2004. Of the 803 million pounds (364 million kg) that were converted to clean flake:

• 298 million pounds (135 million kg) were exported, primarily to Asia

• 505 million pounds (229 million kg) were used domestically to make new products such as polyester jackets, carpet, film, strapping and new PET bottles.

Only a small percentage of PET bottles sold are used to make new plastic bottles – approximately 4%. The paucity of closed-loop recycling means that new water bottles must be manufactured almost entirely from virgin petroleum resin, consuming vast amounts of energy and resources. Increasing the quantity of bottles containing recycled content would greatly reduce energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.

The Coca-Cola Company has committed to using recycled content in 10% of all their plastic beverage bottles sold in North America. PepsiCo has committed to using 10% recycled content in their plastic soft drink and water bottles sold in the US. Other bottled water producers are silent on the issue. Although both Coca-Cola and Pepsi met their recycled content goals in 2005, plastics recycling experts doubt they will reach them in 2006 due to the lack of supply of collected scrap bottles.

The following facts come from, I think, someone else’s blog. Initially, I had seen theses facts somewhere, but could not locate them again or their source, so I just copied and pasted. I really wanted to show current data on annual consumption and lack of recycling. In comparison to the above 2004 figures, you can see that recycling rates are declining. This has been happening for the past ten years.       

 …bottled water (in all its flavors) has become one of the most consumed, yet least recycled beverages. For example, it is estimated that in 2005 alone approximately 30 billion plastic water bottles were purchased, with only about 12% recycled (in part due to out-dated deposit laws). The remaining 25 billion bottles were either landfilled, littered or incinerated. Obviously that’s a lot of bottles, but statistics involving “billions of bottles per year” can be difficult to put into perspective.

In summary, bottled water is evil. Well that is a personal opinion. It does seem that the facts point to bottled water use being out of control. For the most part bottled water is just filtered tap water which you can make yourself, with a filter, for a lot less. Using your own refillable container, whether it be plastic, glass or metal cuts down on the amount of disposables manufactured and eventually not recycled.

So please say “NO THANK YOU” to bottled water.

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3 Comments

  1. Mommalynne said,

    March 6, 2008 at 8:06 am

    Have you investigated what the airlines do with the plastic bottles they give passengers? Do they recycle the empties or just toss them? Is it different from one airline to another?

    If an organization is sponsoring a marathon, how should they provide water to the participants? Do they use foam cups? Is there someplace that provides “green” suggestions to organizers of events like this? And how do they get sensitized to check out such information in advance?

  2. wasteweardaily said,

    March 6, 2008 at 9:05 am

    I’ll see what I can find out. I’ve been wondering myself what is the best way to provide beverages to large numbers of people. I’ll look into these.

  3. sandrar said,

    September 10, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.


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