has been described as "one of the
greatest cons of the 20th century" and as
"marketing's answer to the emperor's new clothes".
water contamination incidents must be reported promptly to the public, the
same is not true for bottled water,
(see the list of
more than 100 bottled water recalls)
In 22 percent
of brands tested, chemical contaminants were found at levels above
state health limits. Some of the contaminants found in the study could
pose health risks if
consumed over a long period of time.
found that a high percentage of bottled water, contained in plastic
Bottled water versus tap water
In a study
comparing 57 bottled water samples and tap water samples, all of the tap water
samples had a
content under 3 CFUs/mL . There were
15 water bottle samples
containing 6-4900 CFUs/mL.
study comparing 25 different bottled waters, most of the samples
exceeded the contaminant level set by
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
and thorium. Being
exposed to these contaminants in high concentration for long periods of time
can cause liver and
kidney damage, and increase
risk for pancreatic and
water manufacturers in the United States either add
fluoride to their product or provide a
fluoridated bottled water product. (Not required to put on the label).
Natural Resources Defense Council,
Sierra Club, and
World Wildlife Fund argue that bottled water is no better than tap
water, and emphasize the environmental effect of disposable plastic
Penn & Teller:
Bullshit! Demonstrated that diners could not
discern between bottled water and water from a garden hose behind the
Bottled water Environmental Impacts
90 percent of
the cost of bottled water is bottling, packaging, shipping, marketing,
retailing, expenses and profit.
Environmental suffers from groundwater extraction, energy used in plastic
packaging, transportation costs, water quality, all resulting from
invalid marketing claims.
Bottled Water in
(PET), requires a significant amount of energy to produce. In the US, plastic
used to create bottles uses an estimated 15 million barrels of oil annually.
Is Your Bottled Water Worth It?: Find Your Water
Bottled Water http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bottled_water
Cartoned water Environmental Impacts
Of the 50 billion PET(polyethylene terephthalate)
bottles are consumed annually in the United
States, approximately 30% are recycled, although that rate slightly
increases each year.
CARBON USED IN
Plastic industry trade groups
respond with their usual mantra that plastic is lightweight, shatterproof,
and convenient. The beverage industry also points out that of all bottled
drinks, a 500ml bottle of water
generates 111 grams of carbon during its
entire lifecycle, lower than that of soft drinks.
The carbon footprint of an equivalent-sized Tetra Pak Prisma
carton, however, stands at
50 grams even with the
plastic top included.
A drastic difference also exists
when evaluating the "water footprint" of
plastic bottles and Tetra Pak cartons.
It takes anywhere between 1 to 2 litres to
manufacture a 500ml PET bottle.
The water footprint for a 500ml Tetra Pak carton
stands at 200 ml of water.
carton can argue that the trees from which
the cartons are made come from managed farms, and furthermore, those trees
absorb carbon dioxide during their lifespan.
bottle promoters retort that the amount of fossil fuels consumed
to make bottles is a sliver of the world's supply, and the
recycling process is energy efficient.
If the comparison of BAGS (Plastic vs Paper)
is equivalent? Then there is considerably
less energy used in the production of a plastic
bottle vs a
Tetra Pak cartons are
only 74% paper; the rest,
26%, of the package contains aluminum and polyethylene.
Recycling requires complex separation of the paper,
( not to mention the plastic cap).
As is the case with PET bottles,
not all municipalities recycle Tetra Pak
cartons, though the fault often lies
with cities, not with packaging companies.
Furthermore, both PET and Tetra
Pak cartons have come under scrutiny for their long-term health effects on
source The Guardian
cartons are only 74% paper; the
rest, 26%, of the package contains
Milk Cartons & Aseptic Packaging can no Longer Be Recycled ( in many
Think boxed liquid packaging like soy milk, wine, soups, juice and
sauces; the kind of packaging that makes perishable items shelf-stable and
pathogen free for up to one year without refrigeration.
Sometimes referred to as gable-top cartons, these are your typical milk,
cream or orange juice containers for refrigeration.
The recycling industry is constantly changing, but now the market for
recyclables is nothing short of volatile. Impacted by world markets, new
regulations, changes in standards itís difficult to keep up. Recent months have
been characterized as a turning point, or paradigm shift, for the industry as a
whole, especially for those regions (such as ours) that are heavily dependent on
China or other Asian markets. Thereís too much market uncertainty and the
industry is already grappling with sharply reduced commodity revenues, rising
operating costs, a surplus of Mixed Paper and scrap plastics, and the imposition
of much stricter quality standards for all other scrap imports.
At this point, itís not unusual for a material grade that was in high demand
and fetched top-dollar a year ago, to be totally unsellable today. Unsellable is
the key. You see, we (Mill Valley Refuse Service) collect your recycling and
deliver it to a Materials Recovery/Reclamation Facility or MRF (pronounced ďmurfĒ)
where those materials are sorted, prepared and sold to manufacturers for future
production. If there isnít a market for the MRF to sell that material grade
into, then that material will likely end up in landfill.
Thatís why itís so important that we only put into our recycling carts that
which will actually end up being recycled.
Unfortunately, the processors we work with have told us that they will
no longer be accepting aseptic
packaging and other poly-coated cartons for
recycling. While they used to accept this material grade, there are a
few factors that led to them to change their policy:
1) It is very difficult (and sometimes impossible) to secure
an order for this material grade. While this type of packaging is technically
recyclable, the types of American paper mills
that use this grade of paper are not located in all regions of the country and
none are located on the west coast. The only alternative then, is to turn to
China or other markets in Asia for the
sale of this grade, and those customers are neither large consumers of this
grade, nor is their demand for this grade consistent.
2) The volume of these items in the household stream of
recyclables is very low in absolute terms and as a percent of total stream
composition. Itís difficult to justify giving a lot of operational attention
to an item with relatively low volume, inconsistent markets, and uncertain
market value Ė especially in a challenging global market and rising cost
environment. In addition, since the volume is so low, it often takes several
weeks or even months to accumulate a full truckload. In that span of time, the
baled cartons may develop mold and/or foul order, which also hampers
While we all want to divert material from landfills, at this point, there
isnít another option for aseptic packaging,
milk cartons, and other poly-coated cartons.
Please be sure to put these items into your trash.