Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bottled Water Sales Can Be Slowed Further If Wisconsin Approves A Strong Great Lakes Compact

Bottled water sales are still rising, but at a slower pace, The Detroit News tells us.

But it still takes millions of barrels of oil (at 42 gallons a barrel) to produce the plastic in the water bottles that do not get recycled, while tap water, certainly from municipal water treatment systems, is a perfectly acceptable and far cheaper alternative.

That message is getting wider distribution.

The good news also is that bottlers are scrambling to deal with the negative publicity that has begun to seep into the issue and has figured out a way to use less petroleum-derived plastic in their bottles.

The issue is particularly relevant in the Great Lakes region, where bottlers like Nestle will be allowed under the draft Great Lakes Compact to continue to export bottled water from the Great Lakes watershed in containers smaller than 5.7 gallons (20 liters).

Wisconsin activists are pushing to close that loophole; unfortunately, the Wisconsin legislature has no bill before it that would implement the Compact.

Business interests and their political allies in Waukesha County, wanting diversion standards in the draft Compact watered-down or eliminated, kept a legislative study committee from earlier this year from drafting a proposed bill.

Nestle's "Ice Mountain" brand uses water from a Michigan wetlands stream as the supply it bottles in the Great Lakes area, and the bottles can be shipped far from the Great Lakes.

That means water from the Lake Michigan basin is lost permanently to a bottle-by-bottle diversion - - which is why that loophole needs to be closed.

That will happen only if the legislature adopts a strong Compact that closes the loophole - - an outcome that will require the legislature to put regional water conservation at the top of its priorities.


Anonymous said...

Let the games begin....

Anonymous said...

It sure would be nice if the bottled water opponents would try a little honesty. First, let's be honest about the plastic bottle issue. How much bottled water is sold in plastic bottles, compared with Coke, Pepsi, Miller, Budweiser, etc., etc.? I don't see you making an issue of that. Second, tap water may not be "perfectly acceptable." Many water bottlers have much more stringent water quality standards than the EPA. Next, let's consider the whining about water being shipped out of the basin. The number one cost for water bottlers is transportation. They want to sell it where they bottle it. Also, what about the water coming into the basin? Evian (France) and Fiji (Fiji) are two big sellers in the US. I'm prety sure they are not in the Great Lakes basin. Are you taking into account the water coming in when you whine about the water going out?

Vincent A. Orlando said...

I have to agree with anonymous coward above here at least on one point. How about bottled water coming in and being pissed back into the Great Lakes? I think it kind of offsets. And the oil in plastics is a small portion of overall petroleum usage. However, I do agree that tap water is perfectly acceptable and if filtered with an inline filter from the hardware store, your refridgerator too could be making its own fresh water at less cost and less emmissions.

Anonymous said...

How could it offset it? How many people are there in the world? How much water is in the Great Lakes Basin? How much water could people buy in the Great Lakes Region as opposed to those buying outside the region or alternately "the rest of the world"