Water Bottles

 

In case you are not aware, I live and work in the beautiful town of Concord. It is the home of Walden Pond, Thoreau, Alcott and countless others famous people.The North Bridge is a famous Revolutionary War site.  Why the history lesson?  Well last year, we made history. We were the first town to ban the selling of single serving water bottles.  Really??? Yes really. Is there a sane logical reason behind this? Yes, there actually is.  Do I agree with the ban? No, however, I see both sides.  Let’s discuss.

The Case for Banning Water Bottles.

The group that is passionate about the banning the sale of single serving water bottles is quick to tell you that water is available anywhere there is a tap. Due to this fact, and if I may summarize for them, why put water in an environmentally unfriendly container when you can get it just about anywhere. If you use a glass or reusable container we can drastically cutdown of the number of plastic water bottles being used and then thrown away. The best part about plastic is also the worst part of plastic. Plastic never biodegrades, it is incredibly durable. There in lies the problem. While it is good for us in terms of portability and durability, it is terrible for nature.  Have you ever Google’d the swirling trash images?  Horrifying to say the least.

The Case for Not Banning Water Bottles.

In a word it is convenience. When people are at the sub shop, the pizza restaurant or the convenience store, they want the option to buy a bottle of water as opposed to a soda or sports drink.  In the past year, people have told me they are drinking more soda and sports drinks now that water is not available.

Potential Solutions

I have been known to have a beer every now and then. There is a deposit on the beer bottles. When we get a bunch built up, of course this takes years :), we bring them to a redemption center and collect our money. Why not do the same for water bottles? Would there be 100% compliance? There never is. If 20% of the bottles never get returned, take that money that you would have payed out and put it into education about how awful the water bottles are for the environment.

Encourage cities and towns to put in  hydration stations. Make filtered water readily available. Am I more likely to have a reusable water bottle or two rolling around the car if I know I can get good clean water when I am out? I would like to think so.

Start young with encouraging reusable water bottles. Give them out in the schools, make sure the kids are used to it and they will not know any other way.

Lastly, end the ban. People are inherently good and will try to do the right things by the environment when taught well. When people do forget, don’t force them into sugar laden options. No one thinks that is a good idea.

Anyone that comes into my office knows that I am always harping on you to drink more water. For the environments sake, let’s do it from reusable bottles and recycled cups. If you do find yourself out and want a drink, please make sure to grab your water bottle and recycle it when you are done.

I Am a Bottled Water Fan!

Sugar
Sugar

I know that bottled water is totally not vogue right now and I may be angering some of you with my stance on it, however, I am a huge fan of bottled water.  Please let me explain before you scorch me with emails and comments.

Recently, RTI, a non profit research group,  health economist Eric Finkelstein offered a blunt message for lawmakers trying to revamp the health care system: “Unless you address obesity, you’re never going to address rising health care costs.”

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote in April in The New England Journal of Medicine, “Sugar sweetened beverages may be the single largest driver of the obesity epidemic.’’

Last year 26 percent of beverages consumed were soda.

The average 20 ounce soda has 17 teaspoons of sugar in it.  17 teaspoons!!! That is an insane amount.  Try this; place 17 teaspoons of sugar in a bowl and look at how much sugar is in there.  I did it and was horrified.

I don’t think anyone would argue with me that there is no way it is good for you to consume that much sugar in one drink.  Please keep in mind that the average person will drink a couple of these a day!!

Last year we as a country spent $147 billion on obesity.  For an obese person that adds up to over $1400 per person per year in additional medical costs.  The two biggest diseases linked to obesity are heart disease and diabetes.

Would anyone argue that all this sugar contributes to obesity?  Of course, the beverage companies that produce these drinks may not be on board with the sugar and obesity link.

“It’s counterproductive when you have folks out there trying to single out one particular product as a unique contributor to a problem so complex,’’ said Kevin Keane, senior vice president of the American Beverage Association, which represents the makers of Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and other leading drinks. “You could get rid of soft drinks tomorrow, and you would still have overweight and obese people.’’

It is counterproductive?  No one blames ONLY the soft drinks for contributing to obesity but for sure it is a part.  Soda draws people’s ire due to how easy it is to consume all this sugar.  When you eat food, the body does a decent job of telling you that you are full and it is time to stop eating.  Unfortunately when it comes to drinking the body is not as diligent about telling you when to stop, thus leading to consuming many more calories than you actually need.

How many calories are in bottled water???  None.

Now look, you must be socially aware that bottled water is bad for the environment if you throw them away.  You must recycle your bottles, not doing so is just flat out wrong.  There are also trucking issues related to delivering the water.  Even with all of these factors, the side effect of all the sugar people are consuming still makes the bottled water a better choice, in my opinion.

Now we can argue that paying more for water than gasoline is crazy and I would agree.  So why not tap water?  There are two reasons that I don’t like tap water.  The first is the taste.  Every town is different, some towns that water taste great and some taste nasty.  If the water taste gross I am less likely to drink it.

The second reason is the chemicals that are present in tap water.  I am not a huge fan of them.  I feel that bottled water companies like Poland Springs® do a good job of filtering their water to reduce the chemicals better than tap water does.

At the end of the day, I am making the case that bottled water, warts and all, is an excellent choice if you are reaching in the cooler at your favorite sub shob.

It for sure beats drinking all that sugar.  Wait you want to drink diet soda, don’t even get me started!