How many of us can say that we’ve never had a drink of water from a plastic bottle? Probably not many. It’s become a fact of life that when we’re thirsty, rather than turning on the tap, many of us reach for a bottle of water. When we’re traveling we’re even more likely to purchase bottled water because we’re afraid that we’ll get sick from drinking the local water.
Two U.S.-based sustainable travel organizations have developed the TAP Campaign, an initiative to educate travelers about the harmful impact of plastic water bottles on the environment and to encourage travelers to purify their own drinking water. Their vision is that there will ultimately be a global movement, resulting in the near-elimination of travelers’ dependence on plastic water bottles. We’ve thrown our support behind this cause!
Here are a few facts that might make you reevaluate your consumption of bottled water.
Impact on the Environment
- Every year 2.7 million tons of plastic are used globally in the making of water bottles.
- Every year, in the U.S. alone, more than 1.5 million barrels of oil are used in the production of the plastic for water bottles (enough to fuel 100,000 cars for a year).
- In the U.S., 86% of water bottles end up in a land fill, and the number is higher in other countries.
- The plastic used in these bottles is made from crude oil, which produces emissions at rates 100 times that of glass.
- Supplying the bottled water industry lowers aquifers in communities and drains lakes.
- Most developing countries are not equipped to properly recycle plastic bottles so these end up on the road side or floating in rivers.
- Bottled water can cost $10 a gallon – more than gas.
- Americans spend $15 billion a year on bottled water.
- Most bottled water is simply treated tap water, at 1,000 – 4,000 times the price. And unless you know who is treating the water in the country you’re visiting, you might simply be safer to treat it yourself.
What can you do to help?
- Take the TAP pledge – it’s free and once you’ve done it you’ll be sent a discount code for selected products that can be used to treat your own water in a sustainable manner.
- Carry a reusable water bottle.
- Carry a SteriPen. This handy little gadget uses ultraviolet light to remove 99.9% of the bacteria, viruses and protozoa in water. There’s even a version that charges via a USB.
- Carry a water filtration cup.
- Use water purification tablets – if all else fails, this is an old standby. It just requires a little patience as the tablets take 30 minutes to act.
The statistics in this article horrify us and we’re determined to do our part to make a difference…why not join us in supporting this important cause?