Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Recycled Island

There are many dreams of how to deal with the plastic in the world and in the oceans. But by far the most creative thing any of us can do is stop using.

 From an article at treehugger:

"Recycled Island" Turns Ocean Plastic into a Paradise
by Stephen Messenger, Porto Alegre, Brazil on 06.28.10

recycled island photo

Image via Recycled Island

Ever dreamed of living on a giant island of plastic? 
Well, with all the plastic that floats around in the ocean as a toxic soup threatening all manner of marine life, one architecture firm has a bold vision to create an eco-paradise called "Recycled Island" in the Pacific Ocean with sustainability at its core. It's a bold plan, but not only would the project help clean the oceans, the firm claims, it might just be a perfect home for climate refugees--and a way to turn those toxic patches of ocean plastic into an island that may do the planet some good.

The idea for the massive Recycled Island was developed by WHIM architecture as a way to clean the oceans and create a new floating habitat dedicated to sustainable living, complete with beaches, farms, and buildings. Ideally placed in the Pacific, between San Francisco and Hawaii, the island would be some 4 thousand square miles of plastic 'land' upon which plastic communities would be built.
recycled island farming photo
According the project's plan, the plastics used to build the island will come from the giant North Pacific Gyre. Once collected and cleaned, the material could then be reformed into floating platforms of recycled plastic. "This will clean our Oceans intensely and it will change the character of the plastic waste from garbage to building material," says WHIM. "The gathering of the plastic waste will become a lot more attractive."
recycled island surface photo
With the land mass built, the firm believes a sustainable island paradise will flourish,according to the project's Web site:
-The habitable area is designed as an urban setting. Nowadays already half of the World population lives in urban conditions, which has a huge impact on nature. The realization of mixed-use environments is our hope for the future.-The island is constructed as a green living environment, from the point of view of a natural habitat. The use of compost toilets in creating fertile ground is an example in this.
-It is a self sufficient habitat, which is not (or hardly) depending from other countries and finds its own resources to survive. The settlement has its own energy and food sources.
-The island is ecologic and not polluting or affecting the world negatively. Natural and non polluting sources are used to let the island exist in harmony with nature.

recycled island seaweed photo
An important component in making Recycled Island sustainable comes from the cultivation of seaweed, which would provide food, fuel, and medicine, as well absorb CO2 and offer a habitat to fish.
While the plan to build an island by recycling the plastic that pollutes our oceans is certainly a bold one, if not downright impossible, it is in line with a number of ambitious recycling projects that have indeed come to fruition. Certainly, the planet has no pressing need for a new island, sustainable or otherwise, but it would be a huge improvement on the toxic masses of ocean plastic inadvertently in place already. And who knows, maybe Radiohead could write a song about it.
More on Recycling Plastics
Massive Plastic Bottle Building Unveiled in Taiwan
Rome's Trashiest Hotel Built With 12 Tons of Litter
Plastiki Ship Makes its Way Across the Pacific

Monday, June 28, 2010

The 2010 Lilith Tour and Nalgene Team-up

A great news story about the Lilith Fair, women in music and looking after the planet with an alternative to bottled water at the concerts.

article in

The 2010 Lilith Tour and Nalgene Team-up to Reduce Bottled Water Waste At 2010 Summer Concert Series

Nalgene chosen as Lilith’s exclusive, BPA-free reusable bottle partner
Rochester, NY (Vocus) June 25, 2010 -- After nearly a ten-year hiatus, Lilith Fairreturns this summer, casting a spotlight on celebrating women in music and protecting the planet. To mitigate the tour’s carbon footprint, Lilith has partnered with Nalgene as the exclusive reusable water bottle partner. As a result, concert attendees will have the opportunity to choose reusable water bottles in place of wasteful bottled water.
Over the years, summer concert tours have become synonymous with waste. Bottled water, paper plates and individual-sized packaging are a throwaway reality at outdoor festivals. In 2010, Lilith commits to minimizing the tour’s carbon footprint by partnering with companies like Nalgene, and Reverb, a company that provides turn-key greening programs for artists' tours while conducting grassroots outreach and education with music fans everywhere.
During the summer concert series, Nalgene will offer fans limited-edition Lilith Tour bottles at each of the thirty-plus tour stops. Commemorative Lilith Tour bottles will be available in Nalgene’s 32 oz. Wide-Mouth, 16 oz. Narrow-Mouth and On-the-Go (OTG) styles. Concertgoers can purchase bottles on-site for $15 and refill throughout the day at free “hydration stations” conveniently located at each concert venue. Additionally, fans who are unable to attend the concert this summer can purchase limited edition Lilith Tour Nalgene bottles at while supplies last.
“Our goal in partnering with Nalgene is to reduce the waste produced by single-serve bottled water during our tour this summer – it’s a simple, small change that everyone can take part in, and one that truly makes a difference“ said Seth Freed, Sr. Director of Sponsorships for Lilith. “We hope that Lilith fans will join in the spirit of this unique partnership by purchasing a commemorative Lilith Tour Nalgene bottle to use at concert refilling stations, and in their every day lives afterwards.”
Over the years, Nalgene has emphasized the importance of using reusable water bottles in place of bottled water through its FilterForGood partnership with Brita. Through the FilterForGood partnership, Nalgene and Brita have saved millions of bottles from ending up in landfills by asking individuals to take a pledge to reduce waste by choosing a greener combination of reusable water bottles and filtered water.
The 2010 Lilith Tour kicks off on June 27th in Calgary, Canada and continues across Canada and the U.S. through August. For additional information please visit or follow Nalgene and Lilith on twitter at: and
About Nalgene Outdoor Nalgene, part of Thermo Fisher Scientific, was founded in 1949 as a manufacturer of the first plastic pipette holder and soon expanded its product line to include state-of-the-art polyethylene lab ware. Since then, Nalgene has been the leader in leak-proof, reusable hydration containers, and today offers the largest and most diverse selection of BPA-free reusable containers, including stainless steel. Through its eco-minded campaigns including FilterForGood, Refill not Landfill, and America’s Least Wasteful Cities and its commitment to producing leak-proof and durable products; Nalgene aims to inspire a less wasteful way of life. Nalgene products adhere to strict FDA and ISO manufacturing processes that go above and beyond other reusable container companies’ manufacturing standards. For more information, contact Nalgene Consumer Products or visit our website at
Contact:     Libba Cox, 617-248-0680, x12 Caroline Budney, 617-248-0680, x15

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rabble-rousing granny has answer for water sippers

An article about big water fighting back with the threat of law suits against a town that tries to ban bottled water sales.

from an article in The Age
June 24, 2010

    HENRY David Thoreau was jailed here 164 years ago for refusing to pay taxes. Now the town has Jean Hill.
    Ms Hill, an octogenarian, proposed banning the sale of bottled water at a town meeting. Voters approved, intending to make Concord the first town in the US to strip bottled water from its shops.
    Ms Hill, 82, has achieved something that powerful environmental groups have not even tried. The bottled water industry is not pleased; it has threatened to sue if the ban takes effect as planned on January 1. Officials have hinted that they might not strictly enforce it, but Ms Hill said that would only deepen her resolve.
    Tom Lauria, a spokesman for the International Bottled Water Association, questioned why she would single out bottled water. ''It's a completely legal commodity, and to ban it runs foul of interstate commerce considerations.''
    Ms Hill's crusade began a few years ago when her grandson told her about the so-called Pacific garbage patch, a vortex of plastic and other debris floating between California and Hawaii.
    She researched and homed in on bottled water, finding that millions of plastic bottles were disposed of daily, few of which were recycled.
    Town officials said after the ban was approved that it appeared unenforceable and a magnet for lawsuits. They have asked the state attorney-general for guidance.
    Ms Hill does not drink enough water herself, she allowed; orange juice, milk and Scotch are higher on her list. For those who sip water all day, her advice is: ''Get yourself a nice Thermos.''

    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    Drinking bottled water is drinking oil

    ScienceNOW reports a new paper by Peter Gleick and Heather Cooley in Environmental Research Letters that compares the energy use of bottled and tapwater:
    … From start to finish, bottled water consumes between 1100 and 2000 times more energy on average than does tap water.
    Bottled water consumption has skyrocketed over the past several years. In 2007, some 200 billion liters of bottled water were sold worldwide, and Americans took the biggest gulp: 33 billion liters a year, an average of 110 liters per person. That amount has grown 70% since 2001, and bottled water has now surpassed milk and beer in sales. Many environmental groups have been concerned with this surge because they suspected that making and delivering a bottle of water used much more energy than did getting water from the tap. But until now, no one really knew bottled water’s energy price tag.
    Environmental scientist Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute, a nonprofit research organization in Oakland, California, and his colleague Heather Cooley have added up the energy used in each stage of bottled-water production and consumption. Their tally includes how much energy goes into making a plastic bottle; processing the water; labeling, filling, and sealing a bottle; transporting it for sale; and cooling the water prior to consumption.
    The two most energy-intensive categories, the researchers reveal in the current issue of Environmental Research Letters, are manufacturing the bottle and transportation. The team estimates that the global demand for bottle production alone uses 50 million barrels of oil a year–that’s 2 1/2 days of U.S. oil consumption. Determining the energy required to transport a bottle isn’t as straightforward. Some bottles of water travel short distances, but others are imported from far-off countries, which increases their energy footprint. Gleick and Cooley found that drinking an imported bottle of water is about two-and-a-half to four times more energy intensive than getting it locally, often outweighing the energy required to make the bottle.
    All told, Gleick estimates that U.S. bottled-water consumption in 2007 required an energy input equivalent to 32 million to 54 million barrels of oil. Global energy demand for bottled water is three times that amount. To put that energy use into perspective, Gleick says to imagine that each bottle is up to one-quarter full of oil.

    On the water wagon

    Article about the ongoing success of the 'Bundy on Tap' project and the worldwide influence it is having including the announcement of city "bottle filling stations".

    from an article by RICHARD FOX
    20 Jun, 2010 04:00 AM

    WHEN businesses in the small Southern Highlands town of Bundanoon stopped selling bottled water last year, they did not expect the reaction the decision received.
    The town instantly shot to worldwide fame, with Bundy On Tap campaign founder and local businessman, Huw Kingston, being interviewed by the likes of the BBC, CNN and The New York Times.

    Almost eight months on from that decision, the campaign is still influencing attitudes to environmental water concerns.

    “I knew it was a story for NSW, but I didn’t think it would do what it has,” Mr Kingston said.

    “The town has always been a can do town and there’s a feeling that this has put it ahead of itself.”

    Twenty retailers in Bundanoon stopped selling bottled water in late September as the Bundy on Tap campaign was switched on, with reusable water bottles – selling from $4 – sold in their place.
    Water fountains were also erected throughout the town centre, providing free, clean drinking water to residents.

    “Something as basic as water should be free,” said Bundy On Tap project manager, Sandra Menteith.

    “It’s a project that just makes commonsense and people realised that.”

    Thanks to the worldwide attention it received, the Bundanoon scheme has influenced decisions across the globe. In Canada, 71 municipalities in Nova Scotia have banned bottled water from State-owned buildings, while the UK city of Peterborough will do so from 2013.
    In NSW, the South Coast town of Milton installed its first water bottle filling station in April, and another is planned in the nearby town of Kangaroo Valley later this year.

    Jumping on the water wagon, the then State Premier, Nathan Rees, stopped sales of bottled water from all Government buildings a day after the Bundanoon vote. It was Manly Council in August, 2008, that became the first in Australia to provide water bottle filling stations in a bid to cut down on bottled water and its waste.

    The first big test of the Bundanoon scheme was passed with flying colours in April, when 15,000 visitors descended on the town for the annual Bundanoon Highland Gathering.

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    Green ideas flow, like water

    A Canadian University organizers a conference for 9000 people along environmentally sound principals, including substituting bottled water for the real thing.

    Concordia university conference organizers and volunteers dig deep to host an environmentally friendly event, from supplying compost bins and organic coffee to mapping out water fountains

    When nearly 9,000 people descended on Concordia University for an academic conference this month, organizers had more to think about than just booking guest speakers, finding hotel rooms and reserving lecture halls.
    Determined to organize an environmentally friendly conference, they also had to try to source locally produced food to feed the visiting academics, provide organic coffee to get them going in the morning, offer recycling and composting collection along with garbage collection, and make sure water fountains were well marked on campus maps since no one would be getting any bottled water.
    Getting rid of bottled water was something the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences wanted to do, said spokesman Alison Faulknor. The federation and Concordia together organized the eight-day conference, and encouraged conference-goers to bring their own water bottles and fill them up at campus fountains.
    "This is the first year we decided not to distribute water, and that was actually something that our delegates had been asking for for a couple of years," Faulknor said. "Every year we're working with host universities, and they're moving in that direction as well. Bottled water is being banned on campuses across the country."
    In the past, between 3,000 and 4,000 bottles of water were usually distributed at the annual conference, said Marie-Josee Allard, Concordia's conference manager It's something conference organizers are seeing more often -requests to reduce the environmental impact of their gatherings. Many hotel chains have changed the way they operate in order to present themselves as more sustainable to conference-goers -by doing things like offering sustain-ably produced food, getting rid of small bottles of shampoo and lotions, serving jugs of ice water with real glasses instead of in plastic bottles. Others have gone even farther, renovating to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings or to get a coveted LEED-designation for a more eco-friendly building. Convention centres, including Montreal's Palais des Congres, have drawn up guides to organizing green meetings, looking at such issues as having "paperless" meetings, recycling, composting and using reusable dishes and cutlery.
    At Concordia, other environmentally friendly moves at this month's conference included having online registration and reducing the number of registration documents printed, and giving conference-goers the option of receiving a delegate's bag or not. Organizers encouraged visitors to use public transit, providing maps for the metro and bus systems, and promoted the Bixi bike-rental service as well, Allard said.
    A group of volunteer students rolled up their sleeves part way through the conference and took a look at how the more environmentally friendly waste management system was going. They sorted through bags of garbage to see whether people had sorted their recyclable and compostable materials before throwing out their trash, said Faisal Shennib, the university's environmental coordinator. One of the conclusions: there should have been more recycling and compost bins available, Shennib said, because the volunteers found recyclable water bottles and cans, as well as food that could have been composted, in the trash.
    It was the first time a university conference held at Concordia had offered such extensive compostablewaste collection, with more than 50 brown bins located around the campus where conference events were taking place. More than a dozen student volunteers -calling themselves Sustainability Ambassadors and decked out in green T-shirts -hung out near the garbage, compost and recycling bins to help people figure out what to put in each one. The bins were also labelled with specially made stickers, a move that will continue even though the meeting is now over, Allard said.
    "One of the challenges was educating the delegates about which bin to use," Allard said, adding that she sometimes finds herself standing in front of a recycling bin wondering whether a certain item is recyclable. "It was confusing, too, for some delegates, because where they live the recycling bins aren't blue."
    The compostable food waste was taken to the university's west-end Loyola campus, where a composter will turn the food into compost to be used on the university's grounds, Allard said.
    Overall, the conference was a good experiment for holding more environmentally friendly events at the university, Shennib said.
    - - -
    Action plans
    School's out this week, and we have lots of environmentally friendly ideas about how to amuse the kids in Montreal this summer. Find out more at

    In anti-plastic campaign, MOM's stops selling bottled water

    A US grocery chain installs self fill filters and stops selling bottled water.

    from Washington Post - Monday, June 21, 2010

    MOM's organic market has declared war on plastic. The grocer is no longer selling bottled water and is instead installing water filtration machines in its stores so customers can bring their own containers and fill up at 49 cents per gallon. The first gallon is on the house. The local chain stopped offering plastic grocery bags in 2005

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010

    Bottled Water – It’s Time to Just Say No

    Article outlines an interview with Peter Gleick, author of "Bottled and Sold" - the definitive book on the bottled water scam.

    article from Global Shift:

    Recently, author Peter Gleick sat down with Fresh Air host Terry Gross to discuss his new book Bottled and Sold, in which he answers a lot of questions about bottled water: Where does it come from? Who regulates it? And what happens to all of those plastic bottles? Gleick is a water expert who was named a MacArthur fellow in 2003, so he clearly knows his stuff. And once you hear what he has to say, it will make it hard to purchase another bottle unless you are literally dying of thirst.

    Let’s start with the environmental impact of the plastic water bottle. In the United States, every minute of every day a thousand plastic water bottles are opened, consumed and discarded. About 30% of the bottles are recycled. The other 70% go to landfill where they will lie pretty much forever.
    If the 30% that get recycled were made into more water bottles, this would be a good thing. But they aren’t. They are sent to China and made into things like polyester fabric and rugs. The problem with this is that plastic bottles are made out of a plastic called PET, aka polyethylene terephthalate, aka the bottles with the number one on the bottom. This type of plastic is excellent for storing food (it’s durable, impervious to heat, light weight and strong), but it’s terrible for the environment. What happens to the bottles is actually called down cycling rather than recycling. Not only are the bottles shipped across a very big ocean (which takes a lot of energy) but in order to make new bottles manufacturers must use raw petroleum, a very expensive material to make new, virgin PET, most of which of ends up in landfill.


    But what about the health benefits from drinking pure spring water rather than the filthy dreck from your local water supply? Well, this is also an area murkier than water commercials lead you to believe. Apparently, bottled water and tap water are managed in very different ways. Tap water is managed by the Environmental Protection Agency. In large cities it is tested dozens of times daily. Bottled water is managed by the Food and Drug Administration but only if it’s sold in a different state than where it’s manufactured. If it’s sold in the same state, it’s not regulated. So, 60-70% of bottled water is not regulated in the first place. The 30-40% that travels over state lines is tested anywhere from once a week to once a month to once a year.
    And something going wrong with either of these water supplies is also handled very differently. If something contaminates a municipal water supply, consumers are warned immediately. When bottled water is contaminated, consumers are told months after the fact (and only if you write and write to the FDA using the Freedom of Information Act).
    According to Gleick, there have been all sorts of bottled water contamination of which the public is largely unaware — scary contamination with things such as mold, kerosene, algae, yeast, fecal coliforms (gross) and other bacteria, glass particles and even crickets.

    ON TAP

    Gleick says that the answer to this problem is not to simply drink unfiltered tap water, because who knows what the heck is in there. He says, “I think one of the concerns with tap water is that long after the water system, the municipal water systems were built, new chemicals were dumped into… lakes and rivers and so on, and so that there’s all kinds of pollutants in the water that our system was never designed to filter out and that the EPA doesn’t necessarily even test for. So in that sense, you don’t know what you’re drinking.”
    He then goes on to add, “Our tap water is not as good as it could be. It’s good, but it ought to be better, and one of the reasons people move to bottled water is because they either are afraid that our tap water system isn’t good enough, or it isn’t. And it ought to be fixed. The answer to problems with our tap water isn’t bottled water, though. We can’t afford bottled water for everybody, and I think it would be a big mistake to let our tap water systems decay.”
    After hearing this interview we bought one of those screw-on filters for our kitchen tap. We also carry stainless steel water bottles around. I remember as a kid drinking straight from the hose while we played outside. At least then we knew when we accidentally consumed crickets.
    You can hear the whole interview here.

    Ritz-Carlton's U.S. hotels to ditch plastic bottles, replace with green bottles

    It's not strictly "unbottled" but a step in the right direction when a major hotel chain starts using bio-degradable water bottles.

    By Barbara De Lollis, USA TODAY

    Ritz-Carlton hotels today serve around 5 million, 16-ounce bottles of water each year. Concerned about the waste, the luxury hotel chain is switching to a bottle made 100% from plants that can decompose in 30 days in a commercial composting facility, or can be reprocessed and remade 100% into new bottles.
    By Barbara De Lollis
    To wean itself off of plastic and boost its "green" reputation, 40 of Ritz-Carlton's 73 hotels will switch to plant-based, biodegradable material for their water bottles - a move that's believed to be a first among hotel chains.
    The hotels making the switch are in the U.S. and the Caribbean. Chainwide, the company goes through through about 5 million, 16-oz., water bottles per year, according to the Marriott-owned brand.
    Ritz-Carlton hotels provide the bottled water to guests at jogging stations, in guestrooms for turn-down service and in pool areas. Valets also leave a bottle of water behind for a guest after retrieving their vehicle for them.
    According to Ritz-Carlton's press release: The new bottles are made 100% from plants, are all natural, can decompose in 30 days in a commercial composting facility, or can be reprocessed and remade 100% into new bottles. Making one new bottle uses 49% less fossil fuels, 45% less energy, and 75% less greenhouse gases than a classic bottle.
    About two years ago, Ritz-Carlton chief Simon Cooper challenged his management team to find a better solution for bottled water.
    "Plastic bottles are made from crude oil, take a significant amount of energy to produce, and less than 20% are sent to recycling facilities," Cooper said in a statement. "Even when recycled, these bottles cannot be used to make the same quality of plastic."
    Finding the right bottle vendor involved 18 months of research and ultimately led the chain to PrimaTM, which is manufacturing the new, 16-oz. bottles for Ritz-Carlton.
    The precise timing of when each hotel will make the switch will depend on their plastic-bottle inventory, Denise Naguib, Marriott's corporate director of environmental program, wrote me in an email. She expects the hotels to have a supply of new bottles within a month.
    The change isn't a cost cutting move, although Ritz-Carlton stands to save some money on the new bottles up front. The environmentally friendly bottles - with a price break for the first 18 months - will cost the same as the old bottles, Naguib told me, underscoring the fact that going green can sometimes add costs for companies.
    Whether a hotel's water bottles are green or not may sound like a small detail, but it can be a big deal to people who want their hotels and hotel events to be green.
    Washington D.C.-based meetings consultant Joan Eisenstodt said the move to environmentally friendly water bottles should go over well, considering the growing desire among companies and groups to ensure sustainable meetings.
    "There have been lots of discussions about water usage," Eisenstodt said. "If we don't use bottled, we get pitchers with questionably clean ice and glasses, or those large "tank-like" things that no one is ever sure about. People like individual bottles and this makes sense."
    The backlash against water bottles has been growing for years, and has lately started taking on new momentum.
    For instance, a small organic food chain - Bowie, Md.-based MOM's Organic Market - stopped selling bottled water last week as part of its "Battle the Bottle" campaign. Noting the alarming rate by which oceans are being contaminated by plastic, the stores now sell only water from a filteration machine.
    Readers: What do you think? Should more hotels switch to environmentally friendly water bottles or perhaps stop using water bottles?
    Posted Jun 18 2010 10:36AM

    Monday, June 21, 2010

    Changing Consumer Behavior One Water Bottle at a Time

    Bottled water and oil - the Gulf of Mexico draws a parallel.

    From an article by John Edson for Fast Company:

    "....It's especially poignant to think about this relationship between oil and water in this post-Gulf-Coast-oil-disaster moment.
    Water is good. Water is bad.
    Ads from Evian and Brita
    While we all know this, bottled water is super-convenient. It's not that we want to harm the planet, or think that our immediate need or ongoing healthy habits (water kicks soda's butt for hydration, right?) are more important. It's just that we're busy, and the bottled water is there--and we promise ourselves that we'll recycle the empties.
    The fact is that tap water in my country (and probably yours if you're reading this) is super duper. If we only had a way to open the tap, grab a slug of it, put it in our pocket and dispense it at will, we'd have the convenient water that we need accessible when we want it. Fast Company did a fantastic piece about the bottled water industry here, pointing to just how this became such a thriving entity. 
    Design--or design thinking, if you prefer--is tackling this problem, if not the impending problem of global drinking water shortage, in a number of inspiring ways that aim to start with the need, provide alternatives, and empower behavior change in us all......." 

    Bottled water contains more bacteria than tap water

    Canadian study into bottled water and the results of poor regulation relative to the strict controls on tap water.

    Bottled water contains more bacteria than tapwater, with some brands found to harbour levels 100 times above permitted limits, according to new research. article from the Telegraph

    A team of scientists found that 70 per cent of popular bottled water brands available in shops had high levels of bacteria.
    The researchers from Ccrest Laboratories in Canada found that tap water had less bacteria than bottled water. She said: "Heterotrophic bacteria counts in some of the bottles were found to be in revolting figures of one hundred times more than the permitted limit."
    Dr Azam said tighter controls needed to be put on bottled water manufacturers.
    "Bottled water is not expected to be free from microorganisms but the [level] observed in this study is surprisingly very high," she said. 
    Dr Azam said there was no need to drink bottled water if tap water was of a good quality.
    "Unsurprisingly, the consumer assumes that since bottled water carries a price tag, it is purer and safer than most tap water," she added.
    Dr Azam said that the bacteria in bottled water is unlikely to cause disease.
    "But the high levels of bacteria in bottled water could pose a risk for vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, infants, immunocompromised patients and the elderly," she said.
    Nutritionist Dr Chris Fenn said there was no need to drink bottled water in the UK because tap water was so good.
    "We're lucky in this country to have good quality tap water, there are problems with the amount of bacteria found in bottled water," she said.
    "And there is a huge environmental cost to all the plastic used to make the bottles which then sit in the heat."
    Dr Fenn said people should drink tap water as much as possible.
    "But if you are thirsty, you might be out and not near a tap so it's worth buying bottled water," she said.
    "Two litres a day is the general figure but it is quite variable between people.
    "Some people could be the same age and the same weight and do the same amount of exercise but still need different amounts of water to be hydrated.
    "One person might drink one litre and be fine while the other person needs three litres."

    Sunday, June 20, 2010

    Trying to get a handle on bottled water - Bill Boyne

    Fairly general intro into the issues around bottled water, the problems and potentials.

    From an article in the Post-Bulletin:

    Selling bottled water is a big business and one that requires careful scrutiny.
    That is the subject of the book "Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession With Bottled Water" by Peter H. Gleick.

    Gleick is a scientist and president of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, Calif. He won a MacArthur Fellowship for his studies on bottled water.

    Here's how he expresses the scope of the problem: "Every second of every day in the United States, a thousand people buy and open up a bottle of commercially produced water, and every second of every day a thousand plastic bottles are thrown away. Eighty-five million bottles a day.

    "More than 30 billion bottles a year at a cost to consumers of tens of billions of dollars. And for every bottle consumed in the United States, another four are consumed around the world."

    The quality of the water is another problem. Gleick writes that federal standards for quality must be observed for water provided by city and community tap water systems. That is not the case for bottled water. As a result, there have been numerous cases when bottled water was found to be contaminated.

    For example, in 1990, Perrier, a leading bottled water brand, was found to contain excessive levels of benzene, a flammable toxic liquid, sometimes used as a motor fuel. At first Perrier denied the charge but ultimately recalled millions of bottles of the water.

    There have been many other cases when bottles have been recalled. Gleick writes, "The full list of recalls of contaminated bottled water includes a remarkable list of contaminants.

    "In addition to benzene, bottles have been found to contain mold, sodium hydroxide, kerosene, styrene, yeast, tetrahydrofuran, sand, fecal coliforms and other forms of bacteria, elevated chlorine, 'filth,' glass particles, sanitizer and, in my favorite example, crickets."

    None of these contaminants would be found if the bottled water companies were subject to the same kind of inspection as public water systems.

    Producing bottled water causes two other problems. One is the cost of materials, production and transportation, especially for companies that ship their products throughout the country or world.

    The other problem is the environmental consequences of disposing of the huge volume of plastic waste. At least three-quarters of the used bottles are thrown out and wind up in one of the nation's landfills. Plastic doesn't degrade, so the bottles will be there forever.

    The only realistic solution is to improve and expand the nation's community water supply systems. They can be supervised so that the water is pure and can be expanded as needed at public expense.

    Taking this course will avoid the problems of drinking contaminated water and disposing of mountains of discarded plastic.

    Congress can point the nation in that direction by requiring strict federal regulation of the bottled water industry.

    Bottled water: The new cigarette

    Is bottled water the new cigarette?
    Beginning January 2011, it will be illegal to sell bottled water in Concord, Mass. Although the city council has admitted it probably doesn’t have the power to ban a legal consumer product, it’s doing it anyway, just begging the International Bottled Water Association to sue.
    And Concord isn’t alone.

    Last year, a small town in Australia banned the sale of bottled water. Earlier that same day, the state of New South Wales banned all state departments and agencies from purchasing bottled water, calling it a waste of money and natural resources.
    Today, more than 60 American cities have banned the expenditure of tax dollars on bottled water. Dozens more in Canada and Europe have done the same.
    Los Angeles was the first city to introduce such a ban—way back in 1987. No Colorado municipality has so far taken such a step.
    People in Chaffee county, though, are beginning to look at bottled water in a new light, given that Nestle will soon be carting away millions of gallons of Arkansas river waterto sell as a delicious consumer product.
    Laura Donavan has put together a related visual illustration.

    Saturday, June 19, 2010

    Drink up: SF Tap Water "Safer" Than Bottled Water

    Describes the source quality of San Francisco's city water as superior to many bottled waters which have questionable sources, even before it is put into plastic.

    From SF Weekly:
    Take a long, cool drink of the Hetch Hetchy the next time someone hands you a bottle of Fiji: city officials have long said that the imported mountain water which provides San Franciscans' tap water is better than bottled H20, and now they have a study to prove it.

    The water is so good, in fact, that it doesn't need to be filtered before it is piped into homes. Yum!

    Fish and bears do their business in and around mountain water, of course, but that doesn't at all mean that we bathe in bear piss in San Francisco: that the Environmental Protection Agency does not require the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to filter our drinking water is a measure of exactly how good the Hetch-Hetchy water is, according to SFPUC General Manager Ed Harrington.

    In addition to providing fodder for a giant island of plastic in the Pacific Ocean, bottled water is sketchy. There's the polycarbons in the containers, there's the shady sources -- some of which are municipal water supplies far dirtier than San Francisco's. Who knows what's in bottled water? Nobody, Harrington said: "When was the last time a bottled water company issued a comprehensive water quality report?"

    A good question. Probably a long time ago if ever, mostly because the law doesn't mandate bottled water companies to perform exhaustive tests like it does to the SFPUC. Last year, the SFPUC conducted 105,000 tests along the 167-mile long Hetch Hetchy aqueduct system to collect the data used in the report.

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    Tapped Trailer

    AYouTube trailer to the documentary that says so much,

    THE SIZE OF THE Bottled Water SCAM - Time to Wake Up

    An in-house article that summarizes the Wiki article on bottled water.

    In 2011, the global water market is forecast to have a value of $86,421.2 million (A$105.4 billion), or 174,286.6 million liters, an increase of 51% since 2006.
     An effective water filter for a family of four can be put in place for $25. For the revenue from 1 months’ sale of bottled water, no one on this planet would have to drink contaminated water.
    An estimated 50 billion bottles of water are consumed per annum in the US and around 200 billion bottles globally. It is estimated that less than one quarter are recycled.
    The Goethe University at Frankfurt found that a high percentage of the bottled water, contained in plastic containers were polluted with estrogenic chemicals.
    In another study comparing 25 different bottled waters, most of the samples resulted exceeding the contaminant level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‎ (EPA) for mercury, thallium, and thorium.
    Typically 90 percent or more of the cost paid by bottled water consumers goes to things other than the water itself—bottling, packaging, shipping, marketing, retailing, other expenses, and profit.
    In a study with 57 bottled water samples and tap water samples, all of the tap water samples had a bacterial content under 3 CFUs/mL. 15 water bottle samples containing 6-4900 CFUs/mL.
    The Showtime series Penn & Teller: Bullshit! demonstrated, in a 2007 episode, that in a controlled setting, diners could not discern between bottled water and water from a garden hose behind the restaurant.

    Source: Wikipedia article “Bottled Water”

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    should you always believe what you read?

    "How many ad's have you seen telling you to buy water? Don't always believe what you are told - especially around water"

    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    Is this an intelligent use of resources for 1 liter of water?

    It takes a quarter of a liter of oil and 3 liters of water to deliver 1 liter of bottled water. 
    This is an intelligent use of the human ability to reason, right?