Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Don't Drink the Water

I was sitting at my dining room table for lunch when I noticed this plastic bottle of Deer Park spring water. Normally, it wouldn't catch my attention. After all, it's just a bottle of water. What's so special about that?

But then I read this article from the Christian Science Monitor about the debate over whether access to clean water should be a human right. While Americans may not readily obsess over drinking water with so many choices at our disposal (it's a matter of tap, filtered, spring, infused, etc.) developing nations around the world don't have this privilege. Sure, we may gripe about the $4 bottle of water we paid for in the airport, but we generally don't have a dearth of drinking water.

I thought it was highly ironic that Deer Park claims to have reduced the size of their labels to "save almost 10 million lbs. of paper per year in the U.S." But while the trees may or may not be saved (arguable), the fact is that Deer Park and all the other spring water companies are still using plastic. Plastic generates harmful gases from disintegration. Plus, don't forget about the high energy cost associated with plastic bottle production and shipment. While plastic bottles can be recycled, some public and restaurant facilities still don't have separate plastic/glass trash receptacles. I've found myself more than once taking home a plastic bottle just to toss it in my own recyclables bin.

Why not switch to stainless steel aluminum bottles instead? Klean Kanteen's are BPA- and toxin-free, recyclable, sanitary and easy to clean. They also come in a variety of colors and sizes, from 12-oz. (kid-friendly) to 40-oz. (great for long day trips or camping treks).

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