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Body and Soul

(page 3 of 8)


Once upon a time, plastic water bottles didn’t exist. Then, in the late 1970s, Perrier came to America, and with it the craze for drinking water from a bottle. That little green bottle changed everything.

About 30 billion bottles of water are sold per year in North America as an alternative to tap water. Forty percent of that water is nothing but filtered tap water. According to the 2010 documentary “Tapped,” bottled water costs 1,900 times more than tap water. And while tap water is rigorously monitored by the EPA (in communities of 50,000 or more it is tested hundreds of times a month), the FDA tests only water that travels across state lines. Tap water, particularly in the Wood River Valley, is clean, affordable and tastes good.

And then there’s the environment to consider. In Peter H. Gleick’s exposé, “Bottled & Sold,” he estimates that only about 20 percent of water bottles sold are recycled because of shipping costs. The rest go in landfills. More than 60 tons of plastic was recycled in the Wood River Valley last year according to Craig Barry, executive director of the Environmental Resource Center. “Those numbers have more than doubled in the last few years, but we don’t know how much of that are plastic water bottles.” Bottle bills, which add a 5¢ deposit, exist in only 11 states (Idaho isn’t one of them). Half of that legislation doesn’t include plastic.

A simple solution for people who don’t like tap water—buy a filter. Filters remove impurities and make water taste better. There are dozens of types available—sub- sink, faucet, refrigerator or whole house filters. They range from under $10 for a pitcher filter, to thousands for a whole house filter. -Jody Orr


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