Story of Bottled Water

We recently showed the film Tapped at our campus UNCG Sustainability Film & discussion series – something worth considering showing at your library.   It’s “manufactured demand. ” 1/3 of all bottled water actually comes from the tap.  and 80% of these water bottles end up in landfills.  Find out more –  here is a a great video to watch:

The Story of Stuff: Bottled Water.


Can you ban bottled water in your library?

Tapped Documentary

Have you heard of the Tapped documentary –  about big business water bottle industry? The trailer is great and can be viewed on Youtube. Check out more info at the Tapped the Movie website. A film to add to your library’s collection or offer a showing of it in the library!

Quotes from Colorado

“Every day, 30 million single-serve bottles end up in the land fill and a lot of the time our recyclables are being exported to other countries because we don’t have the capacity to recycle all of them,” said Stephanie Soechtig, the director of “Tapped.”  …. “You are led to believe that you are getting a pure product that is safer than tap water,” said Soechtig. “But what you are really getting in the case of BPA is a chemical that was originally invented as a synthetic estrogen, so you aren’t getting a clean product.”

Bottle vs Tap Water

Oregon Dept of Environmental Quality just published a reportLife Cycle Assessment of Drinking Water Delivery Systems: Bottled Water, Tap Water and Home/Office Delivery Water” that compares 48 different methods of delivering drinking water to consumers. It evaluates the  environmental effects across the entire life cycle of single-use, five-gallon reusable and tap water delivery method and determines the variables (recycling rates, recycled content, dishwasher use, transportation distance, water treatment, secondary packaging, to name just a few) that go into the lifecycle.

The conclusion is that tap water has lower environmental impacts than bottled water which we all assume anyway, but  the report views this question through the lens of “reduce, reuse, recycle”.  (The news release from Oregon DEQ has a nice summary of the report. As David Allaway from the Oregon DEQ says:

“We often hear people express some variation of bottled water is bad for the environment because most of the bottles go to the landfill – now we have specific evidence to support this theory. “While recycling water bottles is better than disposing of them, the overall environmental impacts of tap water are much lower than the impacts of drinking bottled water regardless of whether the bottles are 100% disposed or 100% recycled. EX: PET bottle, recycled at a rate of 100%, has greenhouse gas impacts 46 times higher than the “best case” tap water scenario the study evaluated.  Put differently, just because a packaging is recyclable (or recycled) doesn’t make it inherently “good for the environment”. The timeworn hierarchy of “prevent first, then recycle” makes good environmental sense.”