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How Much Carbon is in Your Water?

Many Americans are drinking more water because they know it’s good for them, but a great deal pay for bottled water because they mistakenly think it is healthier than what they can get free from their tap. Truth is, tap water usually requires more testing than bottled water, and many common brands like Aquafina, Dasani, and Pure Life are just tap water re-packaged.

When it comes to bottled water’s environmental impact, many people are aware of bottles ending up in landfills or being incinerated. However, there is another factor that most people don’t usually think about: the shipping of the water. We consume one billion bottles of water each week, and those bottles have to be shipped in trucks, trains, and boats. And water is also heavy; so heavy that an 18-wheeler can’t be fully loaded with water – they have to leave empty space.
Shipping impact, of course, is worst for imported waters, which travel thousands of miles. Along with packaging, transportation is what you’re really paying for when you buy it. For example, half of the wholesale cost of FIJI Water is transportation. With the economic costs of transportation comes another environmental cost too: all of those ships, trucks and trains are generating a great deal of carbon emissions to get the water to you.

So how can you stay hydrated and reduce your water’s carbon footprint? The best solution is to fill up a reusable bottle with clean, free tap water. If you would still feel more comfortable with further purification, there are cheap filters available like Brita and PUR. And, if you absolutely need to buy bottled water buy a domestic brand that has been shipped a shorter distance instead of Evian from France. Think of it this way: if we are so concerned about what’s in our water, shouldn’t we be concerned about the carbon footprint in it too?

For more information about the true costs of water check out: www.fastcompany.com/magazine/117/features-message-in-a-bottle.htm.

March 17, 2008
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