Water on tap

According to my research in Food & Water Watch’s publication, “Take Back the Tap” (www.fwwatch.org), Clean Water for North Carolina’s information, and the Web site www.thinkoutsidethebottle.org, you may want to consider the following before you buy that next plastic bottle of water:
• On average, bottled water costs 900 times the amount of tap water.
• This year, Americans will spend $40 billion on bottled waters. Just $30 billion would bring clean water to everyone in the world.
• Over 25 percent of all bottled water is processed tap water.
• Tap-water regulation has stronger governmental standards than bottled water regulation. Only 30 percent of bottled water is tested routinely.
• Contaminants including carcinogens, heavy metals, bacteria, industrial chemicals and pharmaceuticals have been found in 10 popular brands of bottled waters.
• The amount of oil needed to put one bottle of water in your hand would fill one-fourth of the bottle. Each liter of bottled water requires three liters to produce it.
• Ninety percent of used water bottles are not recycled.
• A few giant corporations are making billions, while residents’ wells are running dry in the communities where the water companies have bottling plants. Trash floating in the Pacific Ocean has formed an island twice the size of Texas; 90 percent of it is discarded plastic.

Do yourself and the planet a favor, and get a good filter for your tap and a reusable steel bottle. You’ll save a bundle of cash in the process!

— Cathy Holt

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23 thoughts on “Water on tap

  1. Trey

    Then why does bottled water taste good, and tap water taste like the suck?

    And if tap water is so much cleaneer, then why do I need a filter for it?

  2. slowlocal

    wow, trey, what a lame response…or maybe you’re six years old? most contaminants are flavorless, that’s why. tap water has it’s problems as well, but cathy has clearly made the case for taking back the tap. looks like you’ve already got your mind made up, though, and will be bellying up to the bottle for the forseeable future.

  3. Trey

    Wow, slowlocal, what a way to attack someone who doesn’t agree with your opinion.

    Funny, if I try something like that here my post never gets posted.


    That’s why I hardly post here anymore.

    And as far as the letter, we’ve all heard these arguments before, and if you really think you are going to save the world by drinking tap water…. then I guess you must be six years old.

  4. travelah

    Bottled water is causing global warming … er … global climate change. Save the planet and some trees and drink the stuff out of your tap. Plus, all that plastic …. use plastic bags too!!! oh wait, no, use paper because there is an island of plastic out near Figi the size of Texas. Hold on … forget paper, we need to save the trees. How about we just lug our bucket down to the village well and toss it in.

    Econuts everywhere.

  5. slowlocal

    poor trey and travelah, floating on a plastic island in this vast sea of asheville econuts….come on in, the water’s fine!

  6. Piffy!

    Wow, trey. It’s hard to believe that your level-headed, articulate posts, like the one above, would ever be “moderated”.


  7. John

    Bottled water is an absolute horrific waste of money and resources. If your pallet is so sensitive, you can’t take tap water, buy a Britta filter and a reusable container. It tastes better and won’t cost you ridiculous money. I used to live in Florida. The sulfur in the water there does make the tap water nasty. NC water is fine out of the tap. American spending decisions are approaching the insane and bottled water could be the poster child.

  8. Matt Mercy

    I recommend gravity filters, such as the Berkfeld or Berkey lines. There are studies showing that they reduce most organic compounds and heavy metals by 99.99%. Also, you can get special elements to remove flouride.

    You know, sodium flouride? -the chemical that the Nazis added to concentration camp water supplies to keep their prisoners docile…and that city council thinks needs to continue to be added to Asheville’s water supply?

  9. Trey

    If it makes you guys feel any better, my bulldog only drinks tap water.

    Sodium flouride eh??? Maybe that’s why she sleeps 23 hours a day.

  10. Brad

    I wonder if Cathy has been out to see the island of trash twice the size of Texas out in the Pacific. I bet she hasn’t, because there isn’t one. Definitely there is trash out there, and probably quite a bit is plastic, but no island. The overwhelming majority of the discarded plastic comes from China. But it is easy to spout out truths over the internet using a couple of websites as truth without doing the research for yourself.

  11. Piffy!

    “Charles Moore, the marine researcher at the Algalita Marina Research Foundation in Long Beach who has been studying and publicizing the patch for the past 10 years, said the debris — which he estimates weighs 3 million tons and covers an area twice the size of Texas — is made up mostly of fine plastic chips and is impossible to skim out of the ocean.”

    from: http://www.mindfully.org/Plastic/Ocean/Pacific-Garbage-Patch30oct07.htm

  12. John

    Plastic will probably outlive humanity. The cost to recycle it is reasonable. Filling landfills and the ocean with it is not the best idea for a lot of good reasons. We need to start recycling all of it ASAP.

  13. Dionysis

    Most of the bottled water comes from Florida, regardless of what brand it carries. As for the environmental effects, it is killing marine animals daily. Virtually all of the albatrosses tested in the South Pacific have high levels of plastic in them, interfering with reproduction. Chicks are starving, sea turtles and other marine life are eating this stuff and dying in droves. It is an absolute global tragedy and continues to worsen by the day.

    “A “plastic soup” of waste floating in the Pacific Ocean is growing at an alarming rate and now covers an area twice the size of the continental United States, scientists have said.

    The vast expanse of debris – in effect the world’s largest rubbish dump – is held in place by swirling underwater currents. This drifting “soup” stretches from about 500 nautical miles off the Californian coast, across the northern Pacific, past Hawaii and almost as far as Japan.

    Charles Moore, an American oceanographer who discovered the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” or “trash vortex”, believes that about 100 million tons of flotsam are circulating in the region. Marcus Eriksen, a research director of the US-based Algalita Marine Research Foundation, which Mr Moore founded, said yesterday: “The original idea that people had was that it was an island of plastic garbage that you could almost walk on. It is not quite like that. It is almost like a plastic soup. It is endless for an area that is maybe twice the size as continental United States.”

    “According to the UN Environment Programme, plastic debris causes the deaths of more than a million seabirds every year, as well as more than 100,000 marine mammals. Syringes, cigarette lighters and toothbrushes have been found inside the stomachs of dead seabirds, which mistake them for food.

    Plastic is believed to constitute 90 per cent of all rubbish floating in the oceans. The UN Environment Programme estimated in 2006 that every square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic.”


  14. slowlocal

    recycling helps, but the manufacturing is the real culprit. as cathy pointed out, the environmental impact of manufacturing plastic bottles far outweighs the benefits in the energy cost to make the bottles, the fact that only 10% are recycled, the trash island, the corporate control of water, the negative health effects to wildlife and humans (estrogen-mimicking plastics, anyone?). germany requires manufacturers to “take back” all packaging, resulting in a massive decrease in the manufacture of packaging; there are similar efforts underway in the US. Until change happens on the manufacturing end, it makes complete sense to carry your own bottle, refill at home, use a fliter, etc.

    and for the record, i am far from an econut – i am eco-educated and well-reasoned in my response. i have worked for over twenty years as a hydrogeologist for public and private water companies, with a background in water law, and developed significant recycling and waste reduction state legislation as a solid waste manager and speak with comfortable authority on these matters.
    another useful link: http://www.flowthefilm.com/trailer

  15. vrede

    Brad: “… The overwhelming majority of the discarded plastic comes from China…”

    Now, how about giving us some per capita trash production figures, Brad?

  16. John

    The US may produced most of the trash til now, but the rest of the world … especially China, India and Russia … is getting ready to dwarf what we did. We can conserve all we want, but if they don’t, what we do won’t hardly matter.

  17. vrede

    Once again, slowly for you John, how about giving us some figures on trash production per person, rather than artificially comparing our national output to countries, India and China, with 4 times as many people?

    And, how much of China and India’s garbage is the result of producing frivolous consumer goods for Americans?

  18. John

    vrede … I’m agreeing that we have horrible per capita numbers. Don’t assume so much.

    Regarding the big picture … I’m most concerned about the size of the pile of junk the whole world is creating. Bash America with our bad per capita numbers all you want. More important though is that the rest of the world is going to make a much bigger pile than ours. Their population dwarfs ours. So far none of the counties I mentioned have a track record that indicates they care at all about conversation.

    The goods that India and China produce are sold all over the world. We are not the big kids on the block in every way how we used to be. Everything isn’t the US’s fault. There’s plenty to go around.

  19. Piffy!

    John, why is quoting actual numbers “bashing America”?

    Perhaps you also “assume too much”.

    “Everything isn’t the US’s fault. ”

    No, but since we are Americans, it does seem appropriate for us to want to make an analysis of our own consumption levels, yes? Or do you think that as long as Asian countries are polluting, its pointless for Americans to try to conserve? I hope Asians arent using the same logic.

  20. John

    PK – trying reading my posts just up the page before you write. I agree that we pollute too much and should conserve. You guys are so sensitive. America seems to be trying to do better. I only hope the rest of the world does too. Unfortunately, they have yet to make much of an effort.

  21. Dionysis

    Citing factual numbers, regardless of how dire they are or from where they come is not “bashing” anything. That makes no sense whatsoever. Facts are facts, and we all have to make do on this one fragile planet. The notion that somehow we are absolved of our responsibility since the problems are multi-sourced makes even less sense. It seems to be an attempt to abrogate responsibility for ourselves. The same illogical view can be found with respect to global warming and habitat destruction: the Chinese and Indians aren’t doing anything to ameliorate their own contributions to the problems, so why should we?

    It makes no sense at all.

  22. Piffy!

    “It seems to be an attempt to abrogate responsibility for ourselves. ”

    Indeed, it is.

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