Sunday, 28 November 2010

Oil and Water

Mineral water being poured from a bottle into ...Image via Wikipedia
On the topic of bottled water, besisdes the obvious problem I have with the paradox of needing more water, when we have access already (you can own a reusable bottle), here's something to think about: what the product you're buying is actually made of.

...oil and water. The world's two most precious resources in one neat package. 
If you take all the oil that goes into making the bottles and you add in the oil that it takes to move the water to bottling plants and then to distribution centres and then take the oil that is used sending trucks around to pick up all the empties, it is the equivalent of filling each bottle of water 1/5 of the way with oil. But bottled water has a water footprint as well as a carbon footprint. On average it take 3L of water to make each 1L of water that goes on the shelf and that other water goes into making the bottles, into cooling the machinery and into washing the bottles...
(BBC television, The Foods that Make Billions, 1. Liquid Gold)

Afterthought: I know there is sometimes a good reason to go for bottled water, particularly in countries like Lebanon where the tapwater is safe for showering and such but otherwise undrinkable without boiling. There's only one serious supplier of water: Soha, another Nestle branch.
I just object to the decadence of encouraging harmful industrialisation in western countries when we can help reserve oil by sticking to water piped efficiently into our homes with minimal environmental effects.

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