"For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it." ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tapped Out

Streaming video on Netflix is great.  They don't always have the most current movies but what they lack in movie selection the more than make up for with their broad selection of documentaries.  Recently I sat down to watch "Tapped"(2009)a documentary casting light on the evils of bottled water.  I have never been a huge bottled water drinker if it is available after a race I will grab a bottle, but I would never go to the supermarket and purchase a case.  My family has for years used a water filter that attaches to our kitchen faucet to tend to all of our drinking water needs.  I do drink a lot of Gatorade though and once a bottle is emptied it gets rinsed and becomes a water container for the rest of its life, however long that may be.
I have always heard that bottled water was pretty much the same as regular tap water, so I wanted to learn a bit more.  To me the choice not to buy bottled water is a no-brainer, considering the huge mark up in price, the use of fossil fuels to create the bottle and ship the water to where I can buy it, but people love the stuff and can't seem to get enough.
The documentary started out pretty good focusing on one area in Maine where Nestle' was pumping water out of the ground unrestricted.  Apparently the laws in Maine are behind the times and allow the person with the biggest pump to take as much ground water as they want.  Residents of the area seemed to be taken by surprise and could do little to stop their water from being taken, and organized some grass roots efforts to force Nestle' to stop or at the very least cut back.  This part of the documentary was great and I wanted to learn more, instead it took a strange turn.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The remainder of the film was about the dangers of the plastic bottles themselves in the manufacturing process as well as when they are discarded and eventually end up in one of the oceanic garbage patches.  I thought all of these points were valid but it seemed like they were laying these problems at the feet of bottled water.  Water is sold in plastic bottles to be sure but there are hundreds if not thousands of other products that are sold in containers made from the same materials.  I don't recall if they mentioned what was the proportion of water bottles to other containers but it would be an interesting statistic.  Possibly blame was being lain so heavily because lets face it I can get my water from the tap and put it in any container I want, like the stainless steel water bottle a vendor at work gave me, but if I want to drink a Cherry Dr Pepper my choices are more limited.  All it takes is the turn of a faucet to eliminate those bottle from entering the waste stream, a turn of the faucet can help to reduce the negative health effects related to the manufacture of the plastic bottles.  So while bottled water is not solely responsible for all of the problems in the film it is the easiest of the sources to eliminate.  I just wish they would have used that approach instead of the heavy handed one they chose.
They also talked about the health risks associated with Bisphenol A (BPA) a chemical used in the manufacture of some plastic containers.  The FDA claimed that BPA was safe to be used in the packaging of foods but has since (with egg on its face) updated its position.  According to the scientific community BPA is pretty nasty and should be avoided.  I generally don't trust the FDA since they come off as either corrupt or incompetent in all of the documentaries I watch, but I do trust the scientific community, as long as I know who funded the research. If you know what I mean.
There was plenty of other good information in the documentary and I recommend that you check it out.  While I didn't agree with the presentation of the material that doesn't take away from its validity.  I would have also preferred that they spend more time addressing the opinions of the bottled water companies themselves.



I thought this was a pertinent topic considering it is summer, and many of you are going to be out there in the heat running, riding, paddling, etc. and hydration is a key issue.  While you are out there remember to use smart container choices, check out the bottles that you use and make sure they are safe, the manufacturer will be able to answer any questions you may have regarding what your bottles are made from.  Eliminate plastic when you can, but if you are like me try to recycle those Gatorade bottles it may not be the best choice but it's better than nothing.

3 comments:

  1. It's very rare for us to buy bottled water, and when we do those bottles get used again...and again...and again. They have to be in pretty sad shape before we recycle them. You're right though about the lack of alternatives for Gatorade, unless you get the powdered mix. I guess it's a cheaper alternative, too, as long as you can find the right flavor. Just takes a little planning, which unfortunately is among my weak links.

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  2. I'm lazy and buy bottled water. This is a good reminder of why I shouldn't. Thanks!

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  3. hi the post is quite inspiring. reusable plastics are the only way to reduce carbon footprint. i hope many are inspired by the post.

    Plastic Container Manufacturer

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