The Bottled Water Debate
In recent months, single use water bottles have been a hot topic in the news in Ontario. Plain and simple, single use water bottles have a significant impact on our environment and the government are looking to control and/or ban these products. In December, the Conservative Government voted to extend the water taking bottling permit moratorium put in place by the previous government for at least a year and in March they released a discussion paper that considers the ban of such products. Single use water bottles have become a staple for many people looking for a quick solution to thirst; they line the shelves of grocery and convenience stores and are an attractive “grab and go” option but their environmental impact should not be ignored.
- The Canadian bottled water industry generates $2.5 billion in annual sales
- In 2013, Canadians purchased 2.4 billion litres of bottled water which works out to 68 litres per person.
- In Ontario alone, one billion plastic water bottles are sent to landfill every year.
- In 2015, 20% of Ontario households reported to drink primarily bottled water.
- If not recycled, water bottles can take 450 years or more to break down and decompose.
Single use water bottles create a significant amount of waste and are not designed to be used more than once and can pose health risks if you do. These bottles end up in either landfills or recycling facilities, in the best case scenarios, or now more and more plastic is finding its way into our oceans and lakes. As mentioned above, plastic takes centuries to decompose in a landfill and these spaces are becoming overrun with plastic materials of all types. Recycling may seem like a great option, and while it is certainly better than sending these items to landfill, plastic recycling comes with its own set of issues: the energy used, pollution created, and the fact that a majority of our recycled materials are shipped overseas to be processed as Canada has very little demand for this type of industry, to name a few.
The production of bottled water also has a significant environmental impact. It is said that each litre of water sold in bottles has taken 3 litres of water to produce. This puts a significant strain on our Canadia freshwater sources. In recent years, the government has put restrictions on groundwater usage for these purposes; prior to this, it had been a bit of a free for all. Also, a study in 2009 found that bottled water is almost 2000 times more energy intensive to produce and distribute than tap water which can be felt globally in terms of pollution and the consumption of fossil fuels.
Tips To Do Your Part
The solution is simple, people need to stop purchasing single use water bottles or at least slow their consumption. Here are some great ways to ensure that you can make a difference.
- Invest in a good quality water bottle (it will pay for itself in a matter of weeks) and make sure to fill it before you leave the house. Make it part of your routine.
- Encourage your place of work, if tap water is not readily accessible, to install a filling station for bottles or for smaller locations, a water cooler.
- If you must purchase bottled water, consider buying it in larger quantities and then pouring it into glasses or water bottles.
Aside from convenience, most people choose to drink bottled water as they don’t like the taste of their municipal or well water. Reverse Osmosis filtration can improve the taste, odour and appearance of you water by removing the contaminants that are at the root of the problem. This process provides “better-than-bottled-water” quality water for just pennies per gallon (a lot less than those bottles of water are costing you!) Contact us today!