Eco-Rep Green Corner: Don’t pay for what should be free

Manufacturers such as Poland Springs, Deer Park, Aquafina and Dasani bottle public water and sell it back to consumers for 1,900 times the cost, according to the film Tapped.

Are you aware that 40 percent of bottled water is simply tap water? In 2006, Americans used 50 billion water bottles and 38 billion of those ended up in landfills. Those bottles take more than 1,000 years to biodegrade. Some $300 a month can be saved by not buying bottled water.

The Food and Drug Administration regulates bottled water, whereas the Environmental Protection Agency regulates tap water. What this means is that tap water follows stricter guidelines and is tested for harmful toxins three times a day on average in municipalities and up to 300 times a month in large cities. Bottled water, on the other hand, does not have to be tested by authorities if it is packaged and sold in the same state, which 70 percent is, making the bottled water industry generally a self-regulated one.

FDA guidelines allow for minimal amounts of E. coli and fecal coliform bacteria (which originate in feces) in water while the EPA prohibits any traces in tap water. Seventy-five percent of the globe is covered with water. Of that, only about 3 percent is drinkable.

Since some EPA regulations are stricter for tap water, bottled water is at times actually less clean than tap water. Of course, both kinds of water are perfectly safe for drinking; but the extra rules for tap water comes with a little more protection.

People usually associate the brand of bottled water that they buy with cleanliness and purity. But considering as bottled water isn’t any better for you than tap water, is it any surprise that such a large percentage of our “clean, bottled water straight from a natural spring” really comes straight from a tap?

Multiple professionals in the field of natural resources believe that future wars will be fought over water, considering how it’s becoming a scarce commodity. A proposed solution to the limited water supply is to collect sewage water and expose it to an aggressive filtering and cleansing process to make it drinkable again. Although the procedure is already practiced in a few plants across the country, producing water cleaner than the original product, including the word “sewage” in the plan immediately turns most people off.

On Tuesday there will be a screening of Tapped in Sweigart 115 at 6 p.m. An accompanying information session will be held in Daly’s on Monday during open period, and you can learn what you can do to save money, save the Earth and save water.

– Steph Eppolito

Lawrenceville Eco-Rep

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