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The growing consumption of bottled water raises questions about the product’s economic and environmental costs. Among the most significant concerns are the resources required to produce the plastic bottles and to deliver filled bottles to consumers, including both energy and water.
The Pacific Institute estimates that in 2006:
* Producing the bottles for American consumption required the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil, not including the energy for transportation
* Bottling water produced more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide
* It took 3 liters of water to produce 1 liter of bottled water
Transporting and Recycling Bottled Water
More energy is needed to fill the bottles with water at the factory, move it by truck, train, ship, or air freight to the user, cool it in grocery stores or home refrigerators, and recover, recycle, or throw away the empty bottles. The Pacific Institute estimates that the total amount of energy embedded in our use of bottled water can be as high as the equivalent of filling a plastic bottle one quarter full with oil.