Bottled water a drain on environment

first_imgBut bottled water is just one of thousands of bottled and canned food and beverage products that are produced and transported to supermarkets and convenience stores. Many of those other products have a greater climate impact than bottled water because they require more processing or farming. With water, “you’re choosing a bottle with the least environmental footprint,” said Jane Lazgin, a spokeswoman at Nestle Waters North America, the nation’s largest bottled water supplier. Some bottled water companies have taken steps to turn their products green. Fiji Water, which ships water from the South Pacific Island of Fiji, promised last month to offset the carbon dioxide its products generate by becoming carbon “negative.” The company says starting in January it will buy carbon offsets for 120 percent of the emissions it creates. Carbon offsets allow people to mitigate their environmental impact by paying to plant trees or support renewable energy. “This was the right time for this message,” said Thomas Mooney, Fiji Water’s senior vice president of sustainable growth. Fiji isn’t going to stop there. The company vows by 2010 to reduce its product packaging by 20 percent, which includes reducing the amount of plastic in each bottle. It also intends to get 50 percent of its energy for production from renewable sources. Nestle also has made efforts to reduce its environmental impact. The company introduced a thinner half-liter bottle this year that uses 15 percent less plastic. It claims it will save 65 million pounds of plastic in 2008. The company’s practice of making 98 percent of its bottles at its water plants also saves 6.6 million gallons of fuel a year, added Kevin Mathews, Nestle’s director of health and environmental affairs. The most obvious alternative to bottled water is tap water, though some experts recommend filtering. Most municipal water in the United States is carefully regulated and safe to drink. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SAN JOSE – Drinking a bottle of water might seem innocent enough, but each bottle has a downside many people overlook – a contribution to global warming. That’s because bottles create carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas, when they are made, trucked to a store and disposed of in a landfill or recycled. Their impact can quickly add up. “Bottled water is an energy-intensive luxury for Americans,” said Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, an environmental think tank in Oakland “It’s certainly much less necessary than the other things we use energy for.” Last year, Americans consumed 8.3 billion gallons of bottled water, or the equivalent of 27.6 gallons a person, according to the Beverage Marketing Corp., a New York-based market research firm. Just making the bottles to hold all the water produced more than 2.5 million tons of CO2, the Pacific Institute calculates. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonAccording to an analysis by the San Jose Mercury News, the energy required to manufacture a single plastic liter bottle, fill it with water from a spring in the Sierra Nevada, truck it to San Jose and then bury it in a landfill creates 0.23 pounds of CO2. That’s about as much as an average car emits driving a quarter-mile. A liter bottle shipped from France and taken by rail across the United States creates more than twice as much CO2. For the $11 billion bottled water industry, global warming has brought unwanted attention. Some cities are moving to restrict bottled water, and the industry is countering with efforts to become more environmentally friendly. San Francisco made a widely publicized decision earlier this year to ban bottled water in city offices, and communities such as Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and Ann Arbor, Mich., have taken steps to cut its use. “Bottled water is a kind of cause du jour,” said Stephen Kay, spokesman for the International Bottled Water Association, an Alexandria, Va., trade association. “It is the poster child.” last_img read more