What Type of Water Bottles Should We Be Using? - Chicago

What Type of Water Bottles
Should We Be Using?
By Kristen Stambaugh
Sample Calculation for
Daily Water Intake
Pounds of body weight
150 lb.
Water requirement based on weight (75% of body weight for an
active person or 50% for a sedentary person)
112.5 oz.
(for active person)
Add for dryness of climate (if applicable)
16 oz.
Add for strenuous exercise (if applicable)
16 oz.
Total per day
144.5 oz.
Divide total by the number of hours you're awake to find your
hourly water requirement: 144.5 ÷ 16 =
9 oz. (per hour if
awake for 16
Plastic Buildup in Pacific Ocean
“Charles Moore, an American oceanographer who discovered the ‘Great Pacific
Garbage Patch’ or ‘trash vortex’, believes that about 100 million tons of flotsam
are circulating in the region.”
Water, Energy and Oil Wasted
To create this much bottled water:
100 Gallons
This much extra water is required for production and
200 Gallons
And this much energy is required for manufacturing:
64 Megajoules
And this much oil is required to produce the plastic bottles:
16 Gallons
And this much CO2e is needed to manufacture plastic bottles:
120 Pounds
“In 2007 we (Americans) spent $16
billion on bottled water. That’s
more than we spent on iPods or
movie tickets”
Should Bottled water
be subjected to a “sin” tax?
• What is a “sin tax”?
– “A state-sponsored tax that is added to products
or services that are seen as vices, such as
alcohol, tobacco and gambling. These type of
taxes are levied by governments to discourage
individuals from partaking in such activities
without making the use of the products illegal.
These taxes also provide a source of
government revenue.”
Which Type of Plastic is Used in
Water Bottles?
• Plastic #1 is what most water bottles are made of and this type
of plastic is intended to be disposed of (because reuse can cause
bacteria to form).
– Plastic #1 is RECYCLABLE (although only about 20% of disposable water
bottles end up recycled)
• Plastics #2, 4, and 5 are safe to use but are not very durable over
– Plastic #2 is usually recyclable but 4 and 5 are not.
– None of these 3 types are dishwasher safe
– Some cloudy water bottles are made of plastic #2
• Plastics #3, 6, and 7 (polycarbonate specifically) have been
found to leach certain hormone disruptors, including Bisphenol
A (BPA), which cause concern when released into the human
– Plastic #7 is what many reusable water bottles were made of until the BPA
scare emerged.
Different Types of Plastics:
• Plastic #1  Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE)
is one of the most common types of plastic and is
commonly found in water bottles, juice bottles, soda
bottles, peanut butter jars and cough syrup bottles.
Different Types of Plastics, cont.:
• Plastic #2  High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is often
used in shampoo bottles, detergent bottles, some plastic
toys and sturdy shopping bags. Plastic #2 is one of the
safer types of plastics. Most bottles with a Plastic # 2 label
are recyclable (allow some cloudy plastics that are Plastic
#2 may not be able to be recycled).
Different Types of Plastics, cont.:
• Plastic #3  Polyvinyl chloride, or No. 3 PVC is typically
used for shower curtains, plastic binder coverings,
wrappers on meat and cheese products, some bottles and
plumbing pipes (think of PVC pipes). Many consider this
an especially bad type of plastic for the environment as it
releases many toxins into the environment in its
Different Types of Plastics, cont.:
• Plastic #4  Low-density polyethylene, or No. 4 LDPE, is
used in commonly used for grocery bags, CD cases, plastic rings
on 6-packs of cans and on some types of bottles. This is not
considered as bad for the environment as PVC but does release
multiple chemicals into the environment when manufactured.
Different Types of Plastics, cont.:
• Plastic #5  Polypropylene, or PP, is used in reusable
plastic food containers, some types of disposable food
containers, medicine bottles and some types of bottles.
Many people have switched to using this type of plastic in
packaging instead of PVC because of toxicity problems.
Different Types of Plastics, cont.:
• Plastic #6  Polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam, is used
in some types of cups and take-out food containers and
packing material.
Different Types of Plastics, cont.:
• Plastic #7  This number is used for plastics that don’t fit
in another category. These include polycarbonate bottles,
which many worry may leak hormones into the body when
used with hot beverages (BPA).
The Truth About Tap Water
• City tap water must meet standards for certain important
toxic or cancer-causing chemicals, such as phthalate (a
chemical that can leach from plastic, including plastic
bottles); some in the industry persuaded FDA to exempt
bottled water from the regulations regarding these
• City water systems must issue annual "right to know"
reports, telling consumers what is in their water. Bottlers
successfully killed a "right to know" requirement for
bottled water.
About 99.9% of all Americans live in areas
where the tap water is safe and has been
treated and is available for unlimited use, so
take advantage of this free and healthy
According to the New York State
Health Department, not only is tap
water safe to drink but tap water is
actually the best water available!
7 Ways to beat BPA,
in order of Importance:
1. Ditch the clear plastic baby bottles. All the research that says there are problems
point at the effect of the estrogen-like BPA on children as being the most
2. Tin cans are often lined in plastic BPA and sit around a long time; get rid of older
tin cans, particularly if they contain tomatoes and other acidic fruits.
3. Don't use your polycarbonate bottle for hot drinks.
4. Polycarbonate bottles get crazed and cracked as they get older; that increases
surface area. Get rid of old ones.
5. Replace your Polycarbonate bottle with a new BPA free bottle, particularly if
pregnant or pre-pubescent.
6. Replace jugs where water sits around a long time, like Brita knockoffs. (Brita
says they are BPA free)
7. Stop using jugged water cooler water, get a filter and cooler that uses city water.
Aluminum & Stainless Steel bottles
• Metal water bottles come either constructed from
aluminum or stainless steel or perhaps a combination of
• Pros:
– Reusable and durable
– Keeps water colder
• Cons:
– If not insulated will retain temperature of beverage on outside of
– Heavier than plastic
– Can dent easily
General Differences between Aluminum and Stainless Steel bottles:
always use a liner inside the bottle
lined bottles are not recyclable and
could contain BPA
tend to be lighter than stainless steel
Stainless Steel:
doesn’t leach so no liner needed
100% recyclable
tend to be less expensive than aluminum
Which type is best for the environment?
PLASTIC?  uses the least amount of materials to produce but typically do not last
as long
- Disposable plastic bottles – not intended for reuse and while they can be recycled,
most bottles are not recycled and when recycled usually turned into something of
lesser use or “down-cycled”
- Reusable plastic bottles – intended for reuse, many types of plastics used in
reusable water bottles are non-recyclable
METAL?  more materials to produce but tend to be longer lasting than reusable
plastic bottles
– Aluminum bottles – intended for long term use, not recyclable because of the liner
- Stainless steel bottles – intended for long term use, recyclable and can be used to
create something of equal economic value (does not need to be “down-cycled”)
OVERALL CONCLUSION  While plastics require less manufacturing, reusable
bottles are always more friendly to the environment, and metal water bottles
are the most environmentally friendly overall because they tend to last the
Benefits/Problems of
Different Types of Bottles
“ANY reusable bottle, no matter where it comes from or what
it is made of, is better for the environment than the
manufacturing and shipping of bottled water. Stainless
steel bottles appear to have the lowest long term impact on
the planet as well as being the safest health-wise and
having the best performance features. Best of all, you can
fill your stainless steel water bottle with tap water, filtered
if you want, knowing that you are consuming the
healthiest, most cost-effective, and carbon-conscious drink
under the sun.”
Additional Useful Resources:
• http://www.newdream.org/water/reasons.php
• http://blog.sustainablog.org/groundbreaking-bottled-water-taxraises-dustup-in-chicago/
• http://www.back2tap.com/resources/get-the-facts/bottledwater-consumption/
• http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/04/bpa-in-water.php
• http://www.tappening.com/Why_Tap_Water
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