The Environmental Cost of Bottled Drinking Water

Like each tidal surge that dumps another more human refuse onto the world’s beaches, the twenty-first century has witnessed a rising tide of plastic water-bottle use that refuses to draw out again.

Much of the credit for this has to go to the companies who profit from this multi-billion dollar industry. Clever marketing that targeted health conscious consumers by selling the purity of bottled water simultaneously sullied the image of tap water.

Worldwide sales figures evince a rising, long-term trend across 40 years. To take an indicator, in the US, the world’s largest bottled water market, sales rose from 350 million gallons in 1979 to 9 billion gallons in 2008. That’s an enormous amount of plastic bottles to be used once or twice and then cast off.

In both the production of these bottles and their fate after they have been drained of their contents there is a huge environmental cost.

The energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions that come as part of the manufacturing process are excessive when compared to the cost of turning on a tap. Each litre of bottled water produced has caused 3 litres to be used in its production. The amount of oil used in the making of a bottle would fill it by a quarter. Then there’s the fuel used to transport the bottles once completed.

If the bottles weren’t ‘single-use’ this might not seem so wasteful but when so many are thrown away immediately it becomes a problem. Some are recycled but most end up in landfills or begin a journey through the earth’s water system. And it is here, returned to the element they once contained, that plastic water bottles play a wholly damaging and ugly role.

Plastic bottles rank in third place out of rubbish items that pollute the sea. As such they contribute to the five great gyres, churning behemoths of plastic that circulate in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. Rubbish heaps so great that by 2050 they could weigh more than all the fish in the seas.

From here they often wash up on beaches all over the world and help to contaminate the ecosystem upon which the world’s fish and seabirds depend.

They do not biodegrade; they are only broken up into ever smaller particles that are often eaten by marine animals and birds. Once inside an animal’s stomach they are an ongoing health hazard and often can cause death. An estimated 90% of seabirds have some plastic inside them.
Fish too unwittingly swallow large amounts of plastic and when they are caught and end up on our tables they pass their insoluble cargo on to us: humans. By the end of the century people could be eating 780,000 minute pieces of plastic each year.

And then there is simply the ugliness of vast swathes of beaches all over the world that lay covered in plastic, helpful for that one minute of time.

Yet, there is cause for hope. Astonishingly Germany, Norway and Finland recycle over 90% of their plastic drinks bottles thanks to a simple deposit scheme. People are charged a small deposit as part of the price of the drink and the sum is returned if they recycle the bottle. With an average of 200 bottles sold each year per person, the economic incentive to recycle is very high indeed.

For some people buying bottled water is not a lifestyle choice but a health necessity. That they have this option is cause for praise. Yet, for a huge proportion of the developed world it is merely convenience or ignorance; when they toss it away it is careless, a carelessness that is almost overwhelming.

So what is the solution? Well one solution is having your own water well.

By drilling a well at your home or business you are bringing a supply of natural spring water to your kitchen tap, eliminating your need to buy bottled water.

OWN and CONTROL your own private borehole water supply and have an additive free, quality, natural, uninterrupted water supply with very low usage costs!

We would be delighted to talk to you about the possibility of drilling your own well. Our prices are competitive and our work is excellent. We use high quality materials and have a highly skilled team to carry out the work.

At TJ Cross & Co we don’t believe in doing a job that is not of the highest standard. A well is an investment for your property that you want to last for many years and we aim to provide exactly that.

You can call our office 064 6632300 for advice or to have one of our team visit you for a free, no obligation quote.