“Eco-Friendly” Bottled Water? Part One: Bioplastics

Is it possible? We write a lot about bottled water and how it’s bad for the environment, but lately bottling companies have been trying to remedy the problem while saving their brand through more eco-friendly alternatives.  We’ve compiled a list of some of the top brands.  But after much research, I still have to go with a Kleen Kanteen reusable Stainless Steel bottle.  It seems to be the most cost-efficient option, and it’s just as convenient.

The following three brands feature bottles made with plastic from natural plant materials.  Enjoy.

Prima Water

This natural corn-based bottle is made 100 percent from plants and is recyclable and completely compostable in 30 days in a commercial composting facility (minus the cap and plastic ring). The source of the water is admittedly municipal, though it goes through a seven-step purification process even after it meets FDA standards. In national taste tests, three out of four consumers preferred prima to other natural bottled spring water brands, and four out of five preferred it to tap water. The bottle’s label, made from paper, is also recyclable, but what’s interesting is that the prima logo strikingly resembles the BP logo.  The website avidly states that the bottles are not made with crude oil.  Coincidence? In light of the recent oil spill, I hope so.

BIOTA Spring Water

Similar to prima, the BIOTA bottle is corn-based, making it completely compostable in a commercial facility (though it takes more than twice as long.)  Instead of a modified BP logo, BIOTA’s label is a picture of a mountain, reflecting its claim that the water is naturally sourced from a spring. But is this claim really true? Pepsi’s Aquafina mountain logo attracts consumers in the same way, but the water is known to be municipally sourced.

re:newal Natural Spring Water

Here we have another corn and plant-based bottle housing “naturally-sourced spring water.” Again: can we trust these claims?

World Oceans Day and the BP Oil Spill’s Silver Lining

It was almost two decades ago in 1992 that Canada proposed a World Oceans Day, which was unofficially celebrated until the United Nations approved the day just last year.

In 2009, Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, spoke about the importance of protecting the world’s oceans:

The theme of World Oceans Day, “Our oceans, our responsibility”, emphasizes our individual and collective duty to protect the marine environment and carefully manage its resources. Safe, healthy and productive seas and oceans are integral to human well-being, economic security and sustainable development.

Ki-moon also stated that “human activities are taking a terrible toll on the world’s oceans and seas,” which is even more apparent now than it was a year ago. The BP oil spill may have occured just of the coast of the United States, but it has global implications.

So it’s appropriate, then, that this year’s theme is “Oceans of Life.” With that in mind, Ki-moon, UN members and visiting professors met at the United Nations Headquarters to discuss just that.

Through its World Oceans Day website, The Ocean Project invites us to participate in World Oceans Day in a number of ways. The site urges use to change our perspective — “to think about what the ocean means to them and what it has to offer all of us with hopes of conserving it for present and the future generations.”

How many of us are, in light of the recent spill, becoming all too aware of the spill’s ill-effects? If you watch the news at all (or follow as many water-related people on Twitter as we do), you can’t help but be disturbed by the photos of oil covered birds, of fish gone belly-up in black water. We wince a little bit when we hear that this is possibly the country’s worst environmental disaster, or when we think of the many, many years it will take to recover from it.

I would never suggest that the BP oil spill was a good thing. But if there is anything we can take away from it, it is that this tragedy has turned a nation’s eyes upon a resource that it might often take for granted. 

Remember World Oceans Day 2009? Me either. 

It’s a shame it took a disaster of this magnitude for many of us to realize the importance of the world’s oceans, but if we are to learn anything from it, we have to remember the theme not only of this World Oceans Day — “Oceans of Life,” but also of last year’s — “Our oceans, our responsibility.” 

Because you can’t have one without the other.

 

GASLAND: An Inside Look at America’s Natural Gas Drilling Campaign

Would you poison the planet for $100,000?

According to a recent article, filmmaker Josh Fox faced this question when he received a $100,000 offer in exchange for the natural gas drilling rights to his property in the Delaware River Basin.  Instead of taking the money and keeping quiet, he decided to use his talents to make a film that exposes the harsh reality of America’s natural gas drilling campaign.  Touring 24 states across the country, Fox, in his Sundance award-winning documentary, GASLAND, reveals some horrific truths about how the natural gas industry is poisoning our water and air, causing chronic illnesses in residents near drilling areas, and contributing to a crisis that could affect millions more, long-term.  What does this crisis look like in real life?  Here’s what’s happening in several major cities:

  • In Dimock, Pennsylvania, close to the New York City watershed, animals began losing their hair after the drilling started, most likely from the toxic water they ingested.
  • In DISH, Texas, emissions from natural gas wells and pipelines measure way above the public health standard for cancer-causing benzene and the neurotoxin carbon disulfide.  In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the emissions are greater than the air pollution caused by all the cars and trucks combined.
  • In Wyoming, a water well erupted with a geyser of natural gas for three days.

If that’s not enough to make you think twice, watch this video:

CAN YOU DO THIS WITH YOUR TAP WATER? from JOSHFOX on Vimeo.

Flammable tap water is not the most disturbing of Fox’s findings, however.  The drilling process, called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which leads to all of this contamination, was exempted in 2005 by the Bush-Cheney Energy Policy Act from United States environmental regulations, including the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Air Act.  What’s more, the fight has now moved to Congress, where lobbyists are trying to prevent legislation that would reverse the exemption, making chemicals used in the process subject to the Safe Drinking Water Act, once again.

I repeat: lobbyists are trying to PREVENT legislation that would reverse the exemption…

Pardon me while I try to make sense of this.  Instead of preventing accidents like the recent BP oil spill, our very own leaders are ignoring the problem while we scramble to find ways to clean up the mess?  – (i.e. Kevin Costner’s Oil Spill Machines; oil booms and mats made of pantyhose and hair)

Innocents like Fox, who accept a monetary offer in exchange for drilling rights must sign non-disclosure forms forcing them to keep quiet about their experience with natural gas drilling and preventing them from bringing any lawsuits.  Perhaps this is the reason why Fox refused the $100,000 offer.  After all, why would anyone want to put a price tag on his health and risk death in the process?  Besides, since the film won the Documentary Special Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, I’m sure Fox has gained a worthier source of income.

The  film makes its debut on Monday, June 21, at 9 p.m. ET/PT., exclusively on HBO.  Watch it.  Tell your friends.  And please do us all a favor, and share this post.

In the meantime, check out our list of some of our other favorite must-watch water movies.