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Get Off the Bottle Featured on Oct 15, 2007
Do you drink bottled water? If you do, your challenge is to give it up for the next seven days.
You will reduce your CO2 emissions by 3 pounds this week.
10492 people have reduced CO2 emissions by 15.52 tons by completing this challenge so far. That's equal to turning off the electricity of 21 homes for about 1 month!
Have you become one of those fancy glam wannabes? Complete with a bottle of Evian and a little dog that looks like a rat with hair extensions? Get real. Don’t drink the bottled stuff this week. Save some pounds of carbon dioxide. And get the rat a haircut.
The Carbon Connection
Bottled water is big business. We Americans bought over 8 billion gallons of bottled water in 2006. Most of that water was sold in plastic bottles, commonly ranging in size from small 8-ounce bottles all the way up to those giant 5-gallon water cooler jugs. The carbon impact of drinking all that bottled water we drink may not seem obvious at first. But it all comes down to water and oil.
The plastic used in water bottles is not only made from fossil fuels, but fossil fuels are burned to create the energy needed to manufacture the plastic, form the bottles, and then fill them with water. And, as you know, burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide. Bottling all that water in 2006 released an estimated 2.5 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
But that’s not the end of the story. Bottled water then gets transported by truck, train, plane, or ship from where it was bottled to where we buy it and drink it. That transportation also consumes fossil fuels and releases CO2. Even refrigerating bottles of water in the convenience store has a carbon impact since the electricity used by the store’s refrigerator is most likely produced by burning fossil fuels.
Getting It Done
Many people drink bottled water because it has become so widely available and convenient. But some people drink it because they mistrust their local tap water. Your local tap water is actually held to a much higher safety standard than bottled water.
Would you be surprised to know that some of the biggest names in American bottled water actually bottle and sell tap water? (You have to give those marketing departments credit. Which water would you buy — the one with the picture of a mountain stream on the label or one that shows the faucet in a kitchen sink?) So, skip the middle man and drink your own tap water! Not only will you be cutting down on carbon dioxide emissions linked to bottled water use, but you’ll also be saving money. Water from the tap costs you only pennies a day.
Here are a few ways to drink less bottled water:
- Buy a refillable water bottle or two. Better yet, reuse a water bottle you may have already bought.
- Keep one water bottle at work and one at home. Be sure to refill your bottles from the tap, not from a bottled water cooler.
- In a restaurant, ask for tap water instead of bottled water.
Rules of the Challenge
For this Challenge, we’re only talking about giving up bottled water for 7 days. But this is a repeatable Challenge. If you find that your local tap water is kinda tasty after all, you can always take this Challenge again and give up the bottled water for another week. Or maybe you and your team members will even decide to give up the bottles for good. At a savings of over 1000 pounds of CO2 per Rallyer per year, that’s not just water (or carbon) under the bridge!
See the Math
Let’s start with the known or estimated numbers:
- The average American adult drinks about a half gallon of bottled water per week.
- The processing, bottling, and transport of each gallon of bottled water requires 0.25 gallons of crude oil.
- Burning one gallon of crude oil releases 21.7 lbs of CO2 into Earth’s atmosphere.
Now put all that together to get the following equation:
As always, your numbers may vary. Do you normally drink more or less bottled water than the average American? How far does the bottled water you normally drink travel from its source to where you drink it? Remember, each step in the bottling process and each mile that those bottles travel adds more CO2 to the atmosphere.
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