Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Bottled Water: Costs of Production

Bottled Water: Energy-, Water- and Waste- Costs of Production 

Or, “Would you like some water with your oil today?” 

Energy Costs
Bottled water requires > 1000X the energy to produce as does tap water. This energy cost is dominated by that for transportation and for the production of the plastic.
“…the (energy) equivalent of filling a plastic bottle one quarter full with oil.”

Water Costs
“In fact, it takes at least twice as much water to produce a plastic water bottle as the amount of water in the water bottle.” (Emphasis mine.)
“The International Bottled Water Association … first ever study … show(s) that … it takes 1.39 liters to make one liter of water. … This, the bottled water industry says, is evidence that its product isn't so bad.” (Emphasis mine.) However, “… a true water footprint includes all freshwater used in production, including the water used for packaging. … Drilling for oil to make plastic …”
“…every liter sold represents three liters of water.”

Waste related Costs

Think “recycling” helps?
“For every six water bottles we use, only one makes it to the recycling bin.”

Purely in terms of waste generated, keep in mind that upstream waste – the waste generated in producing the material for the plastic bottle – is about 10X the mass of the bottle itself. (I can’t find an online reference to this, but Elizabeth Royte discusses upstream waste in “Garbageland”.)

So, if you are only recycling, you are throwing it all away (90% of “it”).