One of the core tenets of Judaism that links it to the environmental movement is the tenet of Baal Tashchit: “do not waste” or “do not destroy.” While it may be convenient, especially in the summer heat, to buy a bottle of disposable bottled water, there are many environmental and health reasons why you should resist this urge.
Why Bottled Water is Bad for the Environment: Consider these statistics from the non-profit organization Food and Water Watch before you spend money on bottled water:
- As much as 40 percent of bottled water is nothing more than bottled tap water
- The production of bottled water poses many environmental and health hazards; these include the fact that producing the bottles uses energy and emits toxic chemicals and that transporting the bottles across hundreds of miles negatively impacts climate change by wasting fossil fuels
- Approximately 75 percent of plastic water bottles are never recycled, despite being in demand by recyclers due to the high quality of the plastics used; these bottles will instead end up in landfills
What are the Alternatives: The best alternative to purchasing bottled water is to drink water from the tap. Saint Louis ranks first in the nation in the quality of its tap water. However, if you are looking for the purest quality water or don’t like the aftertaste of tap water, the best alternative is to purchase a water filter (either pitcher form or to attach to your water faucet).
Water on the Go: If you need water and you will be on the go or travelling out of town, use these simple steps to get the best quality water without the high cost to the environment and your health:
- Purchase a stainless steel reusable water bottle or a stainless steel thermos; fill it with tap water from home or with tap water at the airport if you are flying and can’t take water with you past the security screeners at the airport.
- If you are concerned about tap water quality, buy a reusable water bottle that has a built-in water filter.
The next time you are tempted to take the easy route and purchase a single, disposable water bottle, remember the costs of doing so. Rather than spending money on water that is essentially the same as what you get from the tap and supporting the wasted resources that go into making that plastic bottle, reach for your reusable bottle instead.
Resources: Food and Water Watch “Take Back the Tap” http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/reports/take-back-the-tap/
Originally posted in jewishinstlouis at http://www.jewishinstlouis.org/blog.aspx?id=345