Answering your questions: Bottled water vs. soda?

Thanks to Toni from Winston-Salem NC for writing in to ask why environmental tips focus on reducing the use of bottled water, but don't tend to address soda.

Being a bottled water lover for 1+ years now, I am trying to figure out why soda bottles are not a concern as well? I would rather see a bunch of people drinking fresh water than sugary soft drinks any day, but that is just me...so why water bottles only?

Although indeed convenient, bottled water has all these things going against it:

  1. Cost between $1.50 and $4.80/gallon versus tap water's $.002/gallon
  2. The fuel and energy costs for making the plastic and bottling the water would fill 1/4 of the bottle with petroleum oil
  3. Frequently draws down (or depletes) your municipality's drinking water supply; they take the water you are already paying for, rebottle it, then resell it to you at 1,000 times the cost (can we say rip-off?). This leaves less water for agriculture, fish, recreation and yes, tap water
  4. Bottling companies are increasingly trying to privatize water rather than leaving it in the hands of local populations
  5. Plastic bottles are a cocktail of toxic chemicals
  6. 85% of plastic bottles are ditched as garbage and never recycled

You should visit the Responsible Purchasing Network where you can find data to your heart's desire on bottled water. Just recently the GAO issued a report as well, 09-610, which concludes that EPA standards for drinking water contaminants are stricter than the standards covering bottled water.

I don't know much about soda bottling but do know it also involves significant inputs of local water and has caused much consternation. Do yourself a favor and get a stainless steel bottle and fill it up with yummy Winston-Salem water rather than supporting an inherently corrupt, illogical and non-consumer friendly proposition.

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