Monday, October 20, 2008

Purifying the Facts

Want to save yourself an awful lot of money? Buy yourself a Brita or PUR faucet attachment or pitcher and purify your own water for cheap instead of buying bottled water.

And now there's even more reason to do so according to a study by Environmental Working Group. See the Associated Press report here, and EWG's report here. The brands more in question were from Wal-Mart, Sam's Choice, and Acadia.

Says EWG, "our tests strongly indicate that the purity of bottled water cannot be trusted. Given the industry's refusal to make available data to support their claims of superiority, consumer confidence in the purity of bottled water is simply not justified."

Yes, there are times when bottled water is your only option or you've been given bottled water and don't want to be an ungrateful guest, or perhaps you've got to hand out bottled water at a group function -- but I'm talking about when you do have a choice. Reduce petro plastics, know for sure how pure your water is, and take the simplified route. Purify your own water and use a reusuable water bottle. Here's a useful safe-water guide from EWG.

Finally, there is the question about what to do with water filters once you've finished using them. In the case of Brita or PUR, their filters are made of plastic and the carbon contents. And there is still no recycling program in the U.S. to take back and recycle these filters. This was recently brought up in a New York Times article, along with the Take Back The Filter campaign where you can sign a petition asking for companies to take back their filters and reduce waste.

The NY Times article's conclusion was that at-home water filtration significantly reduces our plastic use when compared with bottled water. However, the obvious next step would be to recycle the filters so that we move to zero waste. After all, it's not like the filter is going to break down in the landfill -- you have 3 months of use at home and then the filter literally sits forever in the landfill. It may photodegrade (break up into smaller plastic pieces), but it will never biodegrade unless the plastic is made from a non-petroleum, biodegradable/compostable source like corn.

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