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Times Herald-Record

Sustainable Living: Bottled water’s environmental ills

by Shawn Dell Joyce

 

October 14, 2007

 

Many of us choose bottled water because we think it is the healthier choice.

 

Americans are the world’s leading consumers of bottled water, downing about 4 billion gallons per year in little plastic bottles. This is roughly equal to one 8-ounce bottle per person per day. While it certainly is healthier to drink water than soda, bottled water is actually very bad for the planet’s health.

 

There is much more to the ubiquitous water bottle than meets the lips. It actually takes three to five times more water to make and fill one plastic water bottle than the bottle contains. (Water is used in the production of the plastic in water bottles, then also to rinse those bottles.) If you add to that the average energy cost of making the plastic, filling the bottle, transporting it to market and then processing the empty bottle, you begin to see the hidden environmental costs.

 

“It would be like filling up a quarter of every (water) bottle with oil,” says Peter Gleik, a water policy expert and director at the Oakland, Calif.-based Pacific Institute, which studies “real life solutions to water crises.”

 

WATER BOTTLES, like other plastic containers, are made from natural gas and petroleum, which are both nonrenewable resources. More than 1.5 million tons of plastic are used to produce PET, the plastic in water bottles. The manufacturing processes that produce PET cause serious emissions, affecting both the environment and human health. The Pacific Institute calculates that the process of making the plastic bottles consumed in the U.S. uses approximately 17 million barrels of oil per year.

 

Instead of being made into bottles, that oil could fuel more than 100,000 cars. Once the plastic bottle is manufactured and filled with water, it has to be transported, using diesel trucks, ships or airfreight to reach our thirsty lips…” 

 

Shawn Dell Joyce is a sustainable artist and activist from Montgomery. She is the founder of the Wallkill River School, combining plein-air painting with environmental activism. Visit http://www.recordonline.com/earth for more of her articles. 

 

What a waste of precious resources…We have only one home; Earth. Let’s leave our children an earth that is beautiful and well-cared for.

 

More next time-Take care, & Live Green-Donna

 

P.S.Let’s become eco-friendly. Visit www.be-alkaline.com and www.be-alkaline.net -request your free e-book and newsletter to find out how you can have the best water on the planet and you make it in your own home. No more plastic bottles. For more information and research, write to Donna@be-alkaline.com and ask for further information.

 

 

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With the onslaught of everything being put to DVD’s and CD’s, the collections of some people are getting very large and many people are disposing of those they don’t want anymore. What impact is that making on the environment?

In 1983, there were only 800,000 discs distributed worldwide according to an article written by Susie Ruth, “The Dawn of CD/DVD Recycling.” The sales have now been “upped to 30 billion discs a year.”  And, as with everything else, we dispose of them. “Millions of these–unwanted, damaged or obsolete–end up in landfills, or worse, incinerated.” When is the insanity going to stop?

The problem that exists is that discs are made from a combination of materials which consists of a “volume of virgin resource use, manufacturing pollution, and waste” that is staggering. Ms Ruth describes the materials as this: “Aluminum from ore, gold, multiple dyes, and acrylic lacquer and polycarbonate made from fossil fuels. Glass, nickel, silver come into play, plus lots of water.” 

 To counter this overwhelming problem, Bruce Bennett, owner of Duplication Supply Group, launched the CD Recycling Center and Education Program. He stated he found that most people simply didn’t know what to do with unwanted Cd’s and DVD’s. “Every month 100,000 pounds of discs become useless.”

So since this program has been made available the center has been able to recycle over “2 million discs, 25% from individuals, and 75% from corporations” so far. It may not sound like much, but at least it’s a start to solving what is becoming a really big problem and will only escalate in the future. The recycled discs are being made into everything from building materials to auto parts. So “recycling discs not only saves energy and water, it, also, saves trees,” says Ms. Ruth. 

Suggestions in the article from Mr. Bennett: Instead of discarding old discs, share them with a friend, donate or trade them, or give them to a public library. And, with proper respect and care, any discs you may get in the future can last for a very long time if you simply keep them from extreme heat, cold, humidity, and sunlight.

For more information, or to send your discs for recycling, contact: Compact Disc Reycling enter of North America, 68H Stiles Rd., Salem, NH, 03079. Email to: info@cdrecyclingcenter.org , or call: 603-890-8996 to answer your questions about the program.

 Till next time…Live Green, & be Eco-friendly. Let’s take care of our only home: Earth!

Take care & God bless,

Donna

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