Bottled water is disastrous for the planet, a giant waste of money, and now it could be making you sick too.
Niagara Bottling has issued a voluntary recall of fourteen brands of spring water after finding a "positive indication" of E. coli, which may be caused by the presence of human or animal waste. Ah, sounds refreshing, doesn't it?
The brands affected by the recall are: Acadia, Acme, Big Y, Best Yet, 7-11, Niagara, Nature’s Place, Pricerite, Superchill, Morning Fresh, Shaw's, Shoprite, Western Beef Blue and Wegman’s. ABC news has released full details on the recall here.
The company has not received any consumer complaints about illness from drinking their brands, which is a good thing. The recall still sheds light on a greater problem though: ALL THE REASONS WE SHOULD JUST STOP DRINKING BOTTLED WATER.
If you drink it, look on the bottle. If it says it was bottled from a "municipal supply", that just means it's the tap water from a particular city. Depending on the brand, you could be paying ten thousand times more for the same water people in another community are getting for next to nothing. If you're drinking spring water, this current E. coli scare should prove to you that springs aren't exactly gushing with the crystal clear purity that you may think they are. Tap water is also regulated by the EPA, which has much more stringent regulations than the FDA, which handles bottled water. In an extensive four year review, the National Resources Defense Council concluded that there is no evidence that bottled water is any safer than tap water.
Yes, it is true that some tap water does not taste great. If that's the case in your area, petition your local leaders to improve the quality. It's much better to work with your community to solve a local problem than to give up so much money to corporations who are ripping you off and ruining the Earth. Water filters are also affordable, long lasting, and do a world of wonder to improve taste. On the move a lot? Buy a refillable metal water container for around $5 and you're good to go.
Most importantly, stop buying bottled water because of what it's doing to this planet. According to Food and Water Watch:
"Bottled water production in the United States used the energy equivalent of 32 and 54 million barrels of oil to produce and transport plastic water bottles in 2007—enough to fuel about 1.5 million cars for a year. Rather than being recycled, about 75 percent of the empty plastic bottles end up in our landfills, lakes, streams and oceans, where they may never fully decompose."
Take a walk to any waterway in your area and see the evidence all around you. When you see those plastic bottles clogging up your local rivers and streams, doesn't it make your stomach turn? If that doesn't do it, maybe the thought of chugging down a bottle full of untreated bear poop will.
For more on the scourge that is bottled water, watch this video from The Story of Stuff project:
Another great source of information is this article from Gizmodo's Alissa Walker, a quick read which is clear, clever, impassioned and full of well-researched facts on the subject.
Whatever the reason that means the most to you, giving up bottled water is the smart and decent thing to do. You'll save money, possibly be healthier, and you'll be a hero for this planet.