Guest Editorial, January 20-22, 2010 |

Guest Editorial, January 20-22, 2010

Juliann Fritz for Recycle Utah

If you saw the movie "Tapped" last Thursday at the Park City Library, then you know we have a drinking problem. That’s a water-bottle drinking problem, to be exact, and it is draining our pockets and polluting our environment. With a new year upon us, it’s a good time to kick the habit.

Did you know Americans buy nearly 31 billion bottles of water a year? That’s roughly 103 bottles per person.

Did you also know about 80 percent of those bottles end up in landfills or as litter, with plastic taking 1,000 years to degrade? That’s 24 billion bottles a year. Stack them end-to-end and they could reach the moon and back close to five times.

Here in Park City, one grocery store recently sold more than 3,000 cases of bottled water in a month, making for roughly 876,000 plastic bottles a year. That number doesn’t take into account the six-packs or individual bottles purchased, or even the various other grocery and convenience stores in the area. Add the many special events to the equation and the number of plastic bottles can be disheartening.

What can you do about it? Help by slowing down unnecessary consumption and waste build-up. It will protect the environment and also keep money in your pocket. Here are four easy actions to take:

Drink tap water America has some of the cleanest water in the world and it conveniently comes out of your faucet. Did you know nearly 40 percent of bottled water actually is just filtered tap water? You can do the same thing in your home by adding a filter if you desire. In addition, tap water utilizes less energy and natural resources than the transportation and packaging of commercially bottled water.

The price point also is a no brainer. Bottled water costs as much as $10 per gallon versus tap water at less than one cent per gallon. Would you pay $10 for a gallon of gasoline when you could pay a penny?

Recycle more It’s easy! Make a concerted effort to not throw out plastic water bottles but recycle them. Numerous hotels, businesses and neighborhoods in Park City have easy recycling programs. Seek them out and ask about such programs when you travel too.

Here in Summit County there are two free drop-off centers that accept plastic among other materials. Recycle Utah, a nonprofit organization, runs one (1951 Woodbine Way) in Park City and the new Coalville location (44 South 50 West) is operated by the county.

Buy a reusable bottle Live more sustainably and make both a social and fashion statement with a refillable stainless-steel bottle. They’re safe and easier on the environment.

Learn more and become an advocate for change You just started by reading this article, but take the time to learn even more about bottled water’s impact, your water supply and local recycling programs.

You can visit Recycle Utah in person or online ( ) and see how easy it is to make a difference and live more sustainably. If you missed the movie "Tapped" last week, you can find out more at . You’ll learn how encompassing our drinking problem is.

Bottled water is good for disaster relief and other emergencies but it is excessive and wasteful for daily life.

Like saving for your retirement, every little bit helps and it all adds up over time. Start 2010 with new habits. Your actions will make the planet better as well as help you and the community. Start today!

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