Jul 01

Is Bottled Water Safer Than Tap Water?

Corporate giants like Coke, Pepsi, Nestle and others have done an great job selling us on the idea that bottled water is safer, better, perhaps sexier than tap water. However, there is a real dark side to bottled water as the movie “Tapped” has pointed out. When you seriously look at the petroleum needed to produce the plastic bottles, storage issues and potential water contamination by the plastic bottles themselves, the transportation needed to transport the water to the store shelves and environmental impact of plastic bottles have on the Earth, one can see that bottled water is not only wasteful, the discarded plastic bottles create one of the most dangerous environmental hazards known to man. This little video tells the story beautifully.

http://www.myspace.com/video/trailerpark/oceans-exclusive-use-less-plastic/104426743

One can easily see that filtered water not only is a better product, it costs significantly less. The fact is that roughly 25% of all bottled water is actually tap water that has been processed and repackaged. Corporate America treats local municipal sources as a commodity and sells it back to the community at a profit. When you really look at the cost of bottled water compared to filtered water, the numbers are staggering.

Example; bottled water averages around $2.50 per gallon. A Multi Pure 750 gallon filter is $69.95. To produce the same amount of bottled water you would spend $1850.00!! (750 gallons x $2.50= $1850.00)

To find out how your bottled water rates, check the Environmental Working Group Widget below. Simply enter your favorite brand or click the first letter to get the details on that product.

Jun 27

The Story Of Bottled Water – Annie Leonard

The Story of Bottled Water, released on March 22, 2010 (World Water Day) employs the Story of Stuff style to tell the story of manufactured demand—how you get Americans to buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week when it already flows from the tap. Over five minutes, the film explores the bottled water industrys attacks on tap water and its use of seductive, environmental-themed advertising to cover up the mountains of plastic waste it produces. The film concludes with a call to take back the tap, not only by making a personal commitment to avoid bottled water, but by supporting investments in clean, available tap water for all.

Jun 23

What is a bottle bill and how does it work?

Glass bottle, plastic bottle, aluminum can

Bottle bills (also known as container deposit laws) are a proven, sustainable method of capturing beverage bottles and cans for recycling. The refund value of the container (usually 5 or 10 cents) provides a monetary incentive to return the container for recycling. A bottle bill, or container deposit law, requires a refundable deposit on beverage containers to ensure that the containers are returned for recycling.

Benefits of bottle bills

From reducing litter to increasing the economy, container deposit systems offer a number of benefits.

Bottle Bills..

  • Supply recyclable materials for a high-demand market
  • Conserve energy and natural resources
  • Create new businesses and jobs
  • Reduce waste disposal costs
  • Reduce litter
  • and provide many more benefits

Because recycling is mandated on a local level, different states can decide how to incentivize participation. One option that has gained popularity is the bottle bill.

The bottle bill allows for consumers to pay an extra charge when purchasing beverage containers. This charge is then totally or partially refunded when the container is recycled at a certified redemption center.

While most programs nationwide will give consumers money for materials such as aluminum, the bottle bill unifies this refund across the state.

Beverage Container Deposits

The first bottle bill was passed in Oregon in 1971. Currently, eleven states operate these programs. States differ in how unredeemed deposits are dispersed.

Here’s how the bottle bill works in each state:

  • California (imposed Sept. 29, 1986): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by a state-managed fund.
  • Connecticut (April 12, 1978): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.
  • Delaware (June 30, 1982): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.
  • Hawaii (June 25, 2002): Distributors pay a 5-cent-per-container deposit into a special state fund on a monthly basis. Distributors charge retailers the deposit on each container purchased by the retailer. In turn, the retailer charges the consumer for the deposit. Unredeemed deposits are retained by a state-managed fund.
  • Iowa (April 1978): At least a 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.
  • Maine (Jan. 12, 1976): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on beer, soft drink, wine cooler, non-alcoholic carbonated and non-carbonated beverage containers, and a 15-cent deposit is imposed on wine and other liquor beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by the state General Fund.
  • Massachusetts (Jan. 1983): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by a state Clean Environment Fund.
  • Michigan (Nov. 2, 1976): A 10-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained at 75 percent by a state-managed fund and 25 percent by retailers.
  • New York (June 15, 1982): At least a 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.
  • Oregon (July 2, 1971): A 2-cent deposit is imposed on all standardized refillable beverage containers, and a 5-cent deposit is imposed on all non-standardized refillable beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.
  • Vermont (April 7, 1972): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on beer, malt, soft drink, mineral and soda water and wine cooler beverage containers. A 15-cent deposit is imposed on liquor beverage containers greater than 50 milliliters. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.

These 11 states report higher recycling rates for beverage containers than states without such programs. California, for example, reported a 60 percent recycling rate for its beverage containers between January and December 200. During that year, more than 13 billion containers were recycled, which was 814 million more than the previous year.

California leads the nation in the total quantity of bottles and cans recycled. States with deposit programs have generally maintained higher recycling rates for beverage containers than the U.S. average rate.

Bottle bill opponents call deposit requirements a “tax” fronted by taxpayers. However, one-way, throwaway, no-deposit, no-return beverage containers are a corporate subsidy, a hidden tax. Taxpayers absorb the cost of disposing of beverage containers. And many taxpayers absorb the costs of recycling beverage containers through curbside recycling programs.

When there is a refundable deposit on beverage containers, the consumers pay the deposit. The deposit is refunded if the container is returned. And the beverage distributors and bottlers absorb the cost of collection. They then chose whether or not to pass their costs on to their consumers. Because 70 percent or more of the deposit containers are returned, taxpayers pay less for disposal, litter pickup and curbside recycling.

National Recycling Program

Based on a report published by the General Accounting Office on municipal recycling, recycling stakeholders who were interviewed encouraged increasing municipal recycling via adoption of a federal bottle bill. The National Beverage Producer Responsibility Act of 2003 was introduced to the Senate, which referred the bill on Nov. 14 to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

The bill was introduced to the Committee three days later by Senator Jeffords (I-VT), but no action has as yet been taken on the bill.

For more information about bottle bills, visit www.bottlebill.org.

Jun 23

Nuclear plant workers release unknown amount of radioactive tritium into Mississippi River

tritium(NaturalNews) Workers at the Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant in Port Gibson, Miss., last Thursday released a large amount of radioactive tritium directly into the Mississippi River, according to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and experts are currently trying to sort out the situation. An investigation is currently underway to determine why the tritium was even present in standing water found in an abandoned unit of the plant, as well as how much of this dangerous nuclear byproduct ended up getting dumped into the river. Many also want to know why workers released the toxic tritium before conducting proper tests.

The Mississippi Natchez Democrat reports that crews first discovered the radioactive water in the plant’s Unit 2 turbine building after heavy rains began hitting the area last week. Unit 2 was a partially-constructed, abandoned structure that should not have contained any radioactive materials, let alone tritium, which is commonly used to manufacture nuclear weapons and test atomic bombs (http://www.nirs.org/radiation/triti…).

According to reports, alarms began to go off as workers were releasing the radioactive storm water into the river, which engaged the stop flow on the release pump. Neither NRC nor plant officials know how much tritium was released into the river during this release.

“Although concentrations of tritium exceeded EPA drinking water limits, the release should not represent a hazard to public health because of its dilution in the river,” insisted Lara Uselding, public affairs officer at NRC Region IV, to reporters.

Such a statement, of course, is a health concern because precise levels of released tritium are unknown. Just because the radioactive substance has been diluted does not necessarily mean it is harmless, nor does it verify the substance’s source or whether or not it is still being unknowingly released. Without this crucial information, there is no telling where else tritium might be lurking around the plant and river.

A beta radioactive substance, tritium bombards cells and damages DNA when inhaled or swallowed, and can persist in the body for more than ten years upon exposure. Its perpetual effect on cells can lead to all sorts of serious diseases, including, but not limited to, gene mutations, birth defects, and cancer.

Sources for this story include:

http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/2011…

http://www2.wjtv.com/news/2011/may/…

Jun 22

Dire forecast of marine life catastrophe – San Francisco Chronicle

The world’s oceans are degenerating far faster than predicted and marine life is facing extinction due to a range of human impacts – from overfishing to climate change – a report compiled by international scientists warned Tuesday.

The cumulative impact of “severe individual stresses,” ranging from climate warming and sea-water acidification to widespread chemical pollution and overfishing, would threaten the marine environment with a catastrophe “unprecedented in human history.”

The conclusions were published by a panel of international scientists who reviewed recent research at a workshop at Oxford University in Britain. They will be presented to the United Nations in New York this week for discussions on reforming governance of the oceans.

The report warned that damage to marine life would harm its ability to support humans, and that entire ecosystems, such as coral reefs, could be lost in a generation. Coral deaths alone would be considered a mass extinction, according to study chief author Alex Rogers of Oxford University. A single bleaching event in 1998 killed one-sixth of the world’s tropical coral reefs.

Carl Lundin, director of global marine programs at the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which helped produce the report with the International Program on the State of the Ocean, pointed to deaths of 1,000-year-old coral in the Indian Ocean and called the situation “really unprecedented.”

Chemicals and plastics from daily life are also causing problems for sea creatures, the report said. Overall, the world’s oceans just can’t bounce back from problems – such as oil spills – as they used to, scientists said.

“Unless action is taken now, the consequences of our activities are at a high risk of causing, through the combined effects of climate change, overexploitation, pollution and habitat loss, the next globally significant extinction event in the ocean,” it said.

The marine scientists called for a range of urgent measures to cut carbon emissions, reduce overfishing, shut unsustainable fisheries, create protected areas in the seas and cut pollution.

“As we considered the cumulative effect of what humankind does to the ocean, the implications became far worse than we had individually realized,” Rogers said. “This is a very serious situation demanding unequivocal action at every level.”

A separate study released Monday provided the most detailed look yet of sea level rise from global warming. It found the world’s oceans have been rising significantly over the past century. The yearly rise is slightly less than one-tenth of an inch, but it adds up over decades. That study was published in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This article appeared on page A – 4 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Jun 22

“Tapped” The Movie – Review

Last year, one of the most important films of our time was made. The film “Tapped” has opened my eyes to the damaging effects that plastic has on our environment and the bottled water companies control of our water. Take the time to see this documentary and pass it on to everyone you know.

“If you eliminate the scourge of bottled water, you will be eliminating one of the biggest problems facing our environment”. —Charles Moore, founder, Algalita, and discoverer of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Tapped is a condemnation of one of the most ubiquitous acts of consumption today, the purchase of bottled water. The scathing new documentary reveals a litany of damaging effects as it follows this environmental scourge from production to “disposal,” including the Pacific Ocean’s floating continents of plastic debris twice the size of the continental United States.

This documentary also examines the role of the bottled water industry and its effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil.

Along the way, the directors demonstrate how corporate greed combines with a lack of government oversight to allow bottled-water giants Coke and Pepsi to continue bottling water during recent droughts in Georgia and North Carolina, and encasing it in cancer-causing chemicals.

Watch the trailer:

 

Jun 22

Water Bottle Facts

Too Many Bottles-It is a Waste

  • Single-serve bottled water is the fastest growing beverage of choice in the United States.
  • Americans purchased nearly 31 billion bottles of water in 2006 and spend $11 billion on bottled water every year.
  • Nearly 2.5 billion bottles of water a year are sold in New York alone-stacked up end to end, they’d reach the moon.

It’s a Waste of Money

  • Tap water creates less pollution and uses far less energy and natural resources than transporting and manufacturing of plastic water bottles.
  • Bottled water costs as much as $10 per gallon-tap water costs less than one cent per gallon.
  • Nationally, local governments spend $43 billion per year to deliver some of the highest quality water in the world.
  • In New York, we spend $2 billion per year to provide safe, clean drinking water to the public.

It’s a Waste of Plastic

  • Unlike soda and other carbonated beverages, there is no deposit on water bottles so fewer are recycled.
  • Nationally, only 10% of plastic water bottles are recycled-90% end up as either garbage or litter.
  • 30 million single-serve non-returnable containers end up in landfills or as litter every day.
  • We spend millions annually to clean up plastic bottles that litter our highways, parks and open spaces.

It’s a Waste of Energy

  • 18 million barrels of crude oil equivalent were consumed in 2005 to replace the 2 million tons of plastic bottles that were wasted instead of recycled.
  • Manufacturing that much plastic releases more than 800,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contributing to global climate change.
  • If we recycled the water bottles used in New York, we would save more than 67,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases.
  • In New York, the oil used to make our bottles is equal to 66 million gallons of gasoline; enough to power 120,000 automobiles for a year.

Taking Action

  • Since New York adopted the bottle bill in 1982, 90.6 billion beverage containers have been recycled. Roadside container litter has been reduced over 70%.
  • San Francisco and Los Angeles have banned city departments from buying bottled water. Ann Arbor, Michigan is calling for city events to be bottled water free. Salt Lake City urges city workers not to buy bottled water. Maine, Hawaii, California and Oregon have deposit laws that include bottled water.

What You Can Do

  • Recycle or return all of your beverage containers.
  • Pick up bottles along the road or sidewalk and recycle them.
  • Drink tap water-it’s better for the environment, even using a filter is cheaper than buying bottles.
  • Get involved-help start a recycling program at school, work and sporting events.
  • Buy and refill reusable bottles.
  • Learn more about your local recycling program.
Jun 21

Gas Drilling Disrupts Lives, Endangers Health in Bradford County, PA

by Iris Marie Bloom

 

Black Water and Brazenness: Life in Shale Country is the first article in a series, “Bradford Blues: Gas Drilling Disrupts Lives, Endangers Health in Bradford County, PA,” based on interviews with residents in 2011.

In the streaming gold-green light of June, Bradford County’s rolling hills fill the soul with a sense of sweetness.  But the beauty of a chestnut horse glowing against a green field on the high side of one road is marred by the huge fracking pit down a low hill on the other side.

Fracking pits are multi-million gallon earthen impoundments, lined with easily punctured plastic sheets, often filled with “flowback,” gas drilling waste with numerous toxic fracking chemicals. Flowback also includes dangerous materials which are harmless deep down in the shale but are brought up by drilling and fracking processes. These contaminants include arsenic, barium, and the intensely radioactive radium 226, which causes lung and bone cancer and has a half-life of 1,600 years.

 

Fracking Fumes, Bad Water, and Namelessness 

Local people such as Monika Osborn worry about the proximity of gas drilling operations to schools, waterways, and to their own homes.  ”I’m surrounded by 28 gas wells,” Osborn said last weekend, referring to them as “monsters.”  She said she was “nearly suffocated” by a wave of fumes coming from a drilling operation last week.  Osborn, who has refused to sign a lease, mentions quietly that she is losing her hair, but hasn’t reported this to any authorities. Mistrust of the industry, of the PA Deparment of Environmental Protection (DEP), and of everyone in government who is supposed to be looking out for people’s health and well-being, runs rampant in Bradford County, as I found out early. …………………..

Read the story in its entirety at:

http://protectingourwaters.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/black-water-and-brazenness-gas-drilling-disrupts-lives-endangers-health-in-bradford-county-pa/

 

“The brazenness, the lies, the immorality of it knocks you off your feet, to take away people’s water and not repace it,” said Osborn.

Jody and Jason’s family can’t shower safely at home or provide the animals drinking water from their own well.  As a recent study by researchers at Duke University pointed out, the health consequences of human exposure to high levels of methane through ingestion and skin contact has yet to be studied.

Black water, gray water, fizzy water, flaming water…. What the frack is going on when people don’t have clean, safe water in Pennsylvania in the year 2011?

Truck, one of thousands, Bradford County PA June 2011

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