This Bank Holiday Monday, how many of you will have a plastic bottle of water somewhere in your back pack? I know I will: a well-used plastic water bottle, refilled from the tap many times but, nevertheless, a plastic bottle made originally to serve the bottled water industry.
Here are five things you should know about bottled water.
ONE: Each year in the UK we use almost 8 billion plastic water bottles, only half of which get recycled. The rest end up in landfill where they leak toxic polymers into the soil, or in the environment or the ocean where they degrade into microplastics that may take centuries to break down into harmless molecules.
TWO: Research tells us that, in the last 15 years, UK consumption of water in plastic bottles has doubled; the average Brit uses 150 plastic water bottles each year. Surely we can do better than this.
THREE: Bottled water in the UK is at least 500 times more expensive than tap water and researchers at Barcelona’s Institute for Global Health have found the impact of bottled water on ecosystems worldwide is 1,400 times higher than tap water.
FOUR: Bottling and shipping water is the least energy efficient method of water supply in the whole long history of mankind.
FIVE: In the US, 17million barrels of oil are needed to produce the plastic to meet annual bottled water demand.
When my plastic water bottle, already on its last legs, finally gives up the ghost and leaks its contents all over my packed lunch, I promise to find a more eco-friendly container.
. . . and it also takes around three litres of water to make the plastic bottle that holds one litre of water.
I didn’t know that! I am always amazed that the demand for profit can push us so far past the tipping points. Who persuaded us to spend all that enviromental capital on bottled water when the stuff that comes out of the taps is much cleaner and 500 times cheaper?