But I do it, as water is essential. 98.73% of the molecules in our bodies are made of water. In order to survive human beings need water, it is the basis for life itself.
As yogi/ni's and individuals who are mostly physically active (ok, so really yoga is IT for me!) we drink a LOT of water and increasingly water is becoming a commodity to buy and sell in our global community. In 2005 in Canada bottled water consumption was an estimated 60 litres per person with sales worth 652.7 million! That's a LOT of plastic. The US is the top consumer at 33.4 BILLION litres a year- in Toronto alone an estimated 100 million bottles are thrown out a year with only 65% being captured by recycling programs (cbc). From my previous post here we know that plastic lasts a loooong time. This plastic can leach harmful chemicals and additives into the water that you drink while working out or practicing yoga to be healthy (hmmm).
So that's the environmental perspective, but what about the human essential right to water? Commodities are consumer driven, meaning the more people who buy their product the more profit and the more they'll want to sell. Selling water for a profit is now a money making industry. Why do we buy bottled water? Municipal water in developed countries is stringently tested for quality, sometimes daily in Canada. Many bottled water companies simply "harvest" water from a municipal source and dump it into a bottle, slap on a label and charge us a zillion dollars.
What would happen if water truly became something a company could buy ownership and rights? Like in Bolivia- where the government gave water rights of any source of water to a private company who jacked up water to unaffordable prices. Rumours abound regarding BC considering selling water rights to certain rivers to Californian private companies. For me, buying bottled water is much much more than an environmental issue, but an ethical human rights issue; we all have the right to clean, accessible water for free.
So, how do we transport water? What are our options? Here's a lowdown on water containers available and their "eco"-level.
1. Reusable Plastic: hmmm. Well- this one should be an easy one. Although reusable they are still plastic and will eventually end up in the landfill (as most are not recyclable in local community recycling facilities). Also, these plastic bottles can scratch and leach nasty chemicals into your water. Really a miniscule step up from plastic bottles.
2. SIGG Aluminum Bottles: These have been THE bottles around here lately. They look cool, they are pricey and easily identifiable (see the instant "trend" factor?). They don't leach plastic and are BPA free (a scary chemical that leaks from plastic bottles). Aluminum is easily recyclable and lightweight so great for working out (not that I would know since I hate the gym! lol). The downside: aluminum can be toxic so SIGG and other aluminum water containers need an extra lining to protect the water and it's watery drinker. Although their liner is supposedly water-based and non-toxic, it is sprayed on and baked at EXTREME temperatures... um not very eco of them.
I also don't understand how they are 100% recyclable when they have a liner that is BAKED on (which the composition is a "trade" secret that they do not disclose).
SIGG does donate 1% for the planet which is nice and the bottles are extremely sturdy.
3. Stainless Steel: the Klean Kanteen. This is a family owned company out of the USA who uses medical grade stainless steel (so it doesn't leach chemicals) with NO liner. The bottle is recyclable and they also donate 1% for the planet AND they are NSF certified- a non-governmental organization that monitors production standards, health and safety of workers and constantly reviews guidelines. Their water containers are made in China with fair wages and safe labour regulations (no children workers in sweat shops!). Also BPA-free WOOT. This one is my favourite :)
I will end with "Ethos" water that is being sold at Starbucks (ok- I admit to loving Mochas... they are SO YUMMY). Have you seen their glass water bottles? Touting clean water to children around the world... by selling water as a commodity? Starbucks has this special little tap for their utensils that is running ALL THE TIME. 23.4 million litres of water a DAY wasted. I would say the first step is to stop treating water as a commodity and start considering it an essential human right. Just my little soap box.