Green Space: The talk about plastic water bottles heats up

Less than two months ago, metromode encouraged its readers to ditch the bottled water habit (see here), for reasons relating to waste generation and petroleum consumption. Translation: making the bottles uses up lots of petroleum and then they get tossed into landfills by the hundreds of thousands.

In the weeks since, so much has happened in the world of water that it seemed appropriate to bring up the subject again, this time in light of water quality.

BP, although granted an EPA permit to release an increased level of ammonia and other waste products into Lake Michigan, has announced that it won't be doing so. The company claims that their decision has nothing to do with public outcry surrounding the permit -- um, that seems unlikely. But the good news is that the whole matter seemed to have woken the sleeping beast in terms of public concern for Michigan's greatest natural resource.

About time.

In a slap that will have repercussions to many large-scale water bottlers,  Aquafina will now have to label its water as coming from the same sources as tap water. The thing is, test after test will show, as the EPA itself puts it, "Bottled water is not necessarily safer than your tap water." It goes on to say, "Some bottled water is treated more than tap water, while some is treated less or not treated at all...Consumers who choose to purchase bottled water should carefully read its label to understand what they are buying, whether it is a better taste, or a certain method of treatment."

Locally, Ann Arbor is leading the charge, having banned bottled water from city functions. Individually, it might seem difficult to change a hard-boiled habit of grabbing a bottle from the gas station. But check this Slate article out -- it tests out a bunch of reusable bottles and looks at them in terms of style and utility.

The author and I share the same issue: We both drink a lot of water, and sometimes it's just simpler to pay for a bottle on the run (then recycle it, of course!). In an attempt to compensate for my sins, I had been reusing the same Powerade bottle over and over -- until I read about bacterial contamination and the carcinogens that potentially leach from PETE No. 1 plastic after just one use. Gulp.

After weighing all the evidence, I decided to go with the Sigg. I like the design and the fact that it's made of metal.

As for the author's beef about the size: I hear it, but I carry a big purse. Like Janis Joplin, I need room for a bottle and a book at all times. (Better water than Southern Comfort, I suppose.)

Bureau of Urban Living in Detroit just put in an order for some, so you can pick one up there.

Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh
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