Bottled water is a healthy beverage that is produced by an industry with an outstanding tradition of environmental stewardship, protection, and sustainability.
World Water Day 2008 (March 22) calls attention to the critical need to protect and sustain water resources and “highlights the significance of cooperation and importance of an integrated approach to water resource management of water at both international and local levels,” according to the World Water Day web site (www.worldwaterday.org). This global appreciation of water also recognizes the fact that all consumer products use water as an ingredient or in production, including foods and beverages. Bottled water companies have an outstanding commitment to environmental stewardship and responsible use of resources to produce a healthy packaged beverage. And, recognizing that water is necessary for life, the industry brings to people bottled water with consistent safety, quality, good taste, and convenience.
Consumers should consider these facts about bottled water:
Bottled Water and the Environment
- Annual bottled water production accounts for less than 2/100 of a percent (0.02%) of the total ground water withdrawn in the United States each year. The bottled water industry uses minimal amounts of groundwater to produce this important consumer product-and does so with great efficiency. Visit the web site of the Drinking Water Research Foundation (www.dwrf.info) for a study summary of the report, “Bottled Water Production in the United States: How Much Ground Water is Actually Being Used?”
- Even though it is a minimal groundwater user and is one of among thousands of food, beverage and commercial water users, bottled water companies actively support comprehensive ground water management practices that are science-based, treat all users equitably, multi-jurisdictional, and provide for future needs of this important resource.
- Consumers should be aware that bottled water containers are fully recyclable and should be properly recycled through whatever system a local municipality has in place. In fact, all bottled water containers--whether plastic, glass or aluminum-are recyclable. IBWA actively supports comprehensive curbside recycling programs, partners with other beverage and food companies, municipalities, and the recycling industry, seeks to educate consumers about recycling, and works to increase all recycling to reduce litter.
- The bottled water industry is working to reduce its environmental footprint by using lighter-weight plastics for its containers and increasing the fuel efficiency in the transportation of their products to market.
- Convenience-sized water bottles are not a major part of the waste stream, accounting for less than one-third of one percent all waste produced in the U.S. in 2005. Any efforts to reduce the environmental impact of packaging must be comprehensive and focus on all consumer goods.
- The larger bottles found on many home and office bottled water coolers can be sanitized and re-used an average of 40 times before the bottled water company removes them from the marketplace and recycles them. That is why the bottled water industry is considered one of the “original recyclers.” Larger, single-use bottled water cooler containers are recyclable.
Global Water Availability
- While government and the private sector work to find solutions to provide clean drinking water in underserved communities, bottled water combined with other solutions such as filtration and bulk filling stations, is an efficient and effective means of delivering clean, sanitary drinking water.
- A growing number of bottled water companies are designating a portion of their income to support global programs, which help create long term solutions for the provision of water for drinking, sanitation and hygiene in underserved and developing communities.
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