No more plastic!

What began as an environment friendly fad has quickly turned into an eco-movement and way of life for many Vancouverites. Companies such as Bring Your Own Bag have successfully and fashionably turned the anti-plastic bag attitude into a way of life; fewer and fewer people are seen carrying plastic bags while the number of people carrying organic totes full of groceries continues to grow. So, now that one plastic attack is well underway, there’s a growing movement for another anti-plastic campaign. This time, saying “NO!” to plastic bottles.

At what point in time did we come to think of bottled water as a “better” option than regular tap water? As citizens of Vancouver we’re lucky to be sitting on a glacially fed reservoir, and our 2007 Drinking Water Quality Report states that we’ve met and even exceeded the Canadian Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality. So why is it that the majority of us buy water from our local grocers rather than making use of the free source we have at home? Not only are we giving away our hard earned money (brand names can exceed $2.30 per liter), but we’re continuing to create an obscene amount of waste in our landfills. Pamela Groberman pointed out that 80% of water bottles end up at the landfill, with approximately 50 billion per year in North America alone (Green Living, 24 Hours, pg 11)!

So what’s being done about this? As awareness grows more people are twisting off their caps and turning on their taps, and using reusable stainless containers to carry water during outings. On a grander scale, a proposal put forth by Tim Stevenson, a Vancouver councilor, will ban the sale of bottled water in city hall and all city run facilities (including community and recreation centres) if it’s passed. Metro Vancouver is also starting a campaign to raise awareness about the problems which result from the use of plastic bottles. And a new water filtration system, which will be fully operational in 2009, should eradicate the possibility of murky water, forever!

Multiple websites have articles and tips with goals in mind of raising awareness about the bottled water industry. One in particular, Inside the Bottle, features a list of petitions as well as tips, and strongly believes that “bottled water is simply water transformed into water.” Check them out to see what you can do to help!

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4 Comments »

  1. Peter Cech said

    Tap water in the Metro Vancouver region is even better now that the new water filtration Plant on Mt Seymour is open (http://bit.ly/ew2Gwu).

    The good news is that most people do drink tap water. But a lot of people still buy water in single-use plastic bottles when they can’t find a tap.

    To make it easier, Metro Vancouver created a free iPhone app, Tap Map (http://bit.ly/g3nDaH) with a database of over 550 public drinking fountains.
    Apps for Blackberries and Androids are in the works.

    Most outdoor fountains get shut off over the winter, so Metro Vancouver is hoping that restaurants and other establishments will opt in (http://bit.ly/gZognA) as locations where you can request tap water for your refillable bottle.

    Every molecule of plastic ever made is still out there unless someone burned it. With awesome tap water there’s really no reason to buy water in single-use plastic bottles.

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