Single-Use Plastic Water Bottles
Q - How many single-use plastic bottles are used globally?
A – Every minute more than one million single-use plastic water bottles are used.
Q – What is the problem with plastics in the oceans?
A – At present rates of usage, by the year 2050 there will be more plastics in the ocean (by weight) than fish.
Q – Why not just recycle used plastic bottles?
A – Despite our best efforts, far less than 50% of plastic water bottles are recycled.
Q – How big is the plastic island in the ocean?
A – The largest one is 1.6 million km2 , containing 1.8 trillion pieces, many of which are very small pieces of plastic.
Q – If we should not use single-use plastics , then what should we use for containers?
A - Glass, paper or metal reusable containers.
Q – How many plastic bottles are recycled?
A – There is a range of numbers depending on the location and the source. The US EPA (2017) says only 9% are recycled. Ecowatch says 15% are recycled. Polaris (Canada) says 23% are recycled. Nestlé and the Canadian Bottle Water Association claims that 70% are recycled.
Q – Why pick on single-use bottled water when there is wide-scale plastification of many other things (juices, various foods, toys, electrical gadgets, etc.)?
A – There is a clear alternative for single-use plastic bottles of water - the excellent municipal tap water which is available in Ottawa and in most cities in Canada. Tackling the bottled water issue is a good starting point to tackle all excessive plastic use.
Q - What can I do?
A – Start collecting used plastic bottles now. OWSAG is organizing creative water actions this year and need your help collecting used bottles. Email us when you get ten or more.
The Bottled Water Industry
Q – Is the water in plastic water bottles better than municipal tap water?
A – No. According to a recent McGill University study, the majority of water in plastic bottles contained plastics themselves. Municipal trap water is constantly regulated and is safer.
Q – How big are bottled water sales in Canada?
A - $ 2.5 Billion / year
Q – How many Canadians drink only bottled water?
A – 1 in 5
Q – What is the cost of bottled water?
A – It can be more than gasoline, 20 cents/litre (in large grocery stores) and $4/litre (high end).
Q – What is the cost of tap water?
A – 0.25 cents/litre
What is the source of bottled water?
A – Aquafina (Pepsi owned), Dasani (Coca Cola owned) and Nestlé use filtered tap water. Companies also extract groundwater at ridiculously low rates. In B.C., Nestlé and other bottled water companies pay $2.25 in fees to extract one million litres of groundwater.
Q – What about the testing of water?
A – Tap water in Ottawa is tested 300/day under strict regulations. Bottled water under loose regulations is tested much less than this.
Q – What did the McGill University tests show about the safety of bottled water?
A – They found plastic micro particles in each of the top brands (Aquafina, Dasani, Eska, Naya, Nestlé).
Q – What about fluoride in water?
A - Ottawa adds a very small amount of fluorides (0.7 mg/Litre) to municipal water. Many tests have shown this to reduce cavities in teeth. The USA Centre for Disease Control has stated, “Fluoridation of water is one of the ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th century”.
Q – What about chlorine in water?
A – Water is chlorinated in most North American water treatment plants. There can be no debate that chlorination eliminates pathogenic bacteria. The chlorification of water occurs in the water treatment plant and only a very small amount ( <1 mg/L) of residual chlorine is included in the water as it flows throughout the delivery pipes.