Bottled Water is Amazing!

Bottled Water is good for the economyWere you aware that bottled water is “bad for the environment,” “bad for public water sources,” and “bad for your wallet”?

Neither were we! It’s pretty funny to think of something so obviously good – so amazing, when you think about it – as inherently evil, or something. Bottled water is, like, one of the greatest innovations of the last thirty years. Before bottled water was introduced in the marketplace, people had to drink out of taps, or “water fountains.” (This water was more or less free, but, hey, you get what you pay for.) Instead of having a conveniently disposable plastic bottle, people used to have to drink out of cups and thermoses and such, which, you can imagine, was very inconvenient.

Bottled water = convenient. And if that’s not a good enough reason to embrace a life-improving product, we can’t think of a better one.

Supposedly, according to some obnoxious guy in purple shorts we encountered while he was picking up trash in Runyon Canyon, plastic water bottles are the number one source of litter in the park. As if we would litter! We personally don’t discard our plastic bottles in nature – we just throw them in the trash bin, which we assume gets recycled, right? — and we’re pretty sure our cool friends wouldn’t either, because they voted for Obama and do pilates. So, obviously, if it’s happening, it must be someone else doing the littering, someone who has nothing in common with us except a love for the delicious convenience of bottled water.Excellent place to proudly drink bottled water

But this guy insists he picks up hundreds of pieces of trash every week, and bottled water is allegedly the main culprit. (Since we’ve never picked up anything in the park – like we said, we don’t litter, so we don’t notice litter on the ground – we’re not aware of this syndrome. Plus, our earbuds help block out ickiness.) In bottled water’s defense, it has three ways to create refuse – the cap, the label, and the crinkly bottle itself – so, sure, it’s going to seem like a major litter cause, but it probably only creates as much litter as other stuff, if you measure it by weight, not volume.

Also, these things are recyclable. It’s not their fault that somehow 75% of bottles end up floating in lakes, streams, and an oceanic garbage patch the size of Texas. That’s like blaming guns for gun violence. Obviously, a forgetful human being didn’t put her plastic bottle in the correct bin. It happens.

They're all getting recycled!Another great advantage of bottled water is that it costs money. This means it’s worth something. And it’s probably better to drink (in ways that can be hard to discern until advertising explains the benefits). Last year, Americans spent something like $11 billion on bottled water. That’s like 1,000 times more than the cost of potable tap water – and that’s terrific, because that means jobs. Jobs for the economy. Just think of all the jobs – and the energy and resources consumed – by the job-creating bottled water industry! Someone said the fossil fuels used to produce one year’s supply of plastic water bottles could power 1.5 million cars. That’s an amazing amount of economic activity, which is exactly why anything that makes our life demonstrably better (like bottled water, like the Keystone XL pipeline) should be praised, not damned.

Some killjoys think flying water to Los Angeles from Fiji  or to Japan from Iceland is somehow “wasteful” or “absurd.” But tell that to the people who sell the jet fuel and drive the trucks and convert oil into all those billions of bottles (that can be recycled). Bottled water is good for commerce. Bottled water is good for us.

So don’t be ashamed to tote your disposable/recyclable plastic water bottle to the nature park, to the climate change rally, to the sit-in protest for fair trade. To yoga class. Be proud of your choice, and be proud that you’re a thought leader. By continuing to drink from plastic bottles despite all the self-satisfied morally superior environmental types trying to “raise consciousness,” you’re sending a powerful message: you care about the right things.

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5 Responses

  1. Lance B. says:

    The only argument where I’m from is that the Bottles get recycled, because you’ve PAID 10 cents per bottle that ultimately you want back. Even rich people like getting $50+ for recycling at the bottle depot. Even if they don’t, I know of bottle pickers who make good hauls picking up the bottles that are used as “litter”… (They don’t pick up the not so valuable banana peels but I digress)… But just saying as a point of reference that our Canadian villages with our igloo’s over our heads, at least we do tend to recycle as a way of life.

  2. Container deposit legislation can be aimed at both reducing littering and also encouraging picking up through local recycling programs that offer incentives, particularly for aluminium cans , glass bottles and plastic bottles . In New York, an expanded bottle bill that included plastic water bottles increased recycling rates and generated 120 million dollars in revenue to the state General Fund from unclaimed deposits in 2010.

  3. On the left you’ll see (from left to right in the background) a small pile of opaque plastic jugs, about a dozen glass bottles and then two plastic bags about half full. One of those bags contains aluminum cans and the other is plastic bottles that are NOT water bottles. The pile IN FRONT is all plastic water bottles. There are a few of the flavored waters and a few that are multiple-serving jugs, but the rest are those single-serving plain water bottles that sell by the case at your local store. The photo on the right is that same pile put into bags – two FULL bags. Perhaps I should have counted them and figured out the total number of gallons of water those bottles represent.

  4. Kelvin Hart says:

    Most folks drink their bottled water on the go and there is no convenient way to recycle the plastic bottles. In 2003, about 40 million bottles a day went into the trash, or even more unfortunately became litter. These billions of bottles take up valuable landfill space, leak toxic additives into the groundwater and take a whopping 1,000 years to biodegrade, if ever.