Plastic Bottle Guilt

     A Blog reader shared an article with me a couple of weeks ago and I have had a difficult time reading it.  You see, I have the tendency to feel guilty very easily and when I think about the number of plastic bottles I use in one day, I feel really guilty.  The article he sent me was from the November 19th issue of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune and it contained the following information that was compiled by Jonathan Gaw.

  • 10 Billiion dollars were spent on bottled water in the United States last year.
  • 1.5 Million barrels of oil are needed each year to make plastic bottles for the U.S. bottled water industry. 
  • 40% of U.S. bottled water started out as tap water.

     These numbers deal only with plastic bottles for water, I can’t imagine what the numbers would be if carbonated beverages such as Diet Coke in a 20 ounce bottle were included.  In any case, these statistics are scary and I’m afraid I contribute to the bottled water craze.  Of course I have a good excuse, well not really good, but I do have an excuse. 

     At Voyageur Canoe Outfitters we need to have an advanced water purification system since we are serving the public.  Part of this process involves adding chlorine bleach to the water and monitoring the water on a daily basis.  The Health Inspector doesn’t know the long term effects of drinking bleach on a daily basis but doesn’t recommend we or our children do it.  In the summertime we purchase big jugs of Culligan type water and have it delivered so our staff doesn’t have to drink it daily either.  When we didn’t have our big system we just drank the water straight from the river after it passed through a bag filter to get the big stuff out.  We could do that again if we didn’t have guests during the winter, but since we do, that is not an option.  So, the point of the story is that I drink bottled water.  I confess, I’m sorry and I will make a change so that I am not contributing as much to the numbers above.

     I know I can make a difference in the number of plastic bottles I use.  I can purchase Culligan bottles and fill my Nalgene or cup and not just grab a new bottle of water each time.  It’s as easy as that.  It may not be as convenient for me and I’ll have to wash more dishes but it would make a difference.   It may not be a huge step but if each of us takes baby steps along the way then those will add up by leaps and bounds.