I realize that sending a message to this list about the problems caused by bottled water is preaching to the choir. I hope that the information below can be shared with a broader audience.
There was an interesting article about the energy costs of bottling water on the web site of the journal Science, at http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2009/226/2
By Jackie Grom
ScienceNOW Daily News
26 February 2009
Talk about an energy drink. The first comprehensive and peer-reviewed energy analysis of a bottle of water confirms what many environmentalists have charged. From start to finish, bottled water consumes between 1100 and 2000 times more energy on average than does tap water.
The two most energy-intensive categories, the researchers reveal in the current issue of Environmental Research Letters,
Information about the original article from the Environmental Research Letters web site is given below. This journal is available at many university libraries.
Environ. Res. Lett. 4 (January-March 2009) 014009
Energy implications of bottled water
P H Gleick and H S Cooley
Pacific Institute, 654 13th Street, Oakland, CA 94612, USA
Received 18 November 2008
Accepted 28 January 2009
Published 19 February 2009
Abstract. As bottled water use continues to expand around the world, there is growing interest in the environmental, economical, and social implications of that use, including concerns about waste generation, proper use of groundwater, hydrologic effects on local surface and groundwater, economic costs, and more. A key concern is how much energy is required to produce and use bottled water. This paper estimates the energy footprint required for various phases of bottled water production, transportation, and use. We do not develop a single comprehensive life-cycle energy estimate because of differences among water sources, bottling processes, transportation costs, and other factors, but we quantify key energy inputs necessary for site-specific assessments. We also apply these inputs to three site-specific examples of the energy required from production to the point of use: local bottled water produced and used in Los Angeles, water bottled in the South Pacific and shipped by cargo ship to Los Angeles, and water bottled in France and shipped in various ways to Los Angeles. For water transported short distances, the energy requirements of bottled water are dominated by the energy used to produce the plastic bottles. Long-distance transport, however, can lead to energy costs comparable to, or even larger than, those of producing the bottle. All other energy costs—for processing, bottling, sealing, labeling, and refrigeration—are far smaller than those for the production of the bottle and transportation. These data can be used to generate specific estimates for different sources, treatments, and delivery options.
Keywords: bottled water, energy