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It was October 2003 and I was vacationing in Brighton, England.  Thirsty, I popped into the nearest shop and grabbed a bottle of water.   It wasn’t until I’d drunk the bottle of water that I noticed the water was from Richmond, B.C. (a suburb of Vancouver, my home).   I had a good laugh at the time:   Across the world, and here I was paying for water that came out of the tap at home.

Up here in Yellowknife, I’ve been drinking bottled water instead of tap water.  The tap water is heavy on the chlorine and also infused with flouride.  Yuck.  So, I’ve been going to the local co-op and filling up large jugs with Aquel Spring Water.

After seeing the documentary BlueGold I’m joining a revolution and banishing  bottled water from my lifestyle.

Here are some things to think about:

  • The bottle I drink from is plastic created (out of oil and gas) just for my drink.  Just. For. My. Drink.
  • The bottle can’t biodegrade.  It can’t even be reduced to its original substances.  When it’s recycled, it’s still in the planet as plastic – increasingly used in carpeting (how do you feel about flooring made not out of wool or wood or bamboo, but out of petroleum product?)
  • The water that I drink comes from someplace else, disrupting their ecosystem.  In my case, I’ve been drinking water produced by the Cott Corporation.  The water comes from WaterValley in Alberta – this gorgeous place:

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Photo Credit: Rami Levi

That water I drink is no longer contributing to Alberta’s natural ecosystems .

The water isn’t evaporating and returning as rain.

It’s no longer supporting the rich vegetation.

It’s depleting the water table.

This in turn will ultimately degrade the soil.

I have no clue when Cott intends to stop draining this  body of water to sell to me (and the corporate responsibility page on their site is woefully vague) but if you, like me, are tempted to dismiss the threat to the ecosystem (I mean, it looks so plentiful, doesn’t it?), consider this:

The photo below was once the 4th largest sea in the world called the Aral Sea. Located in Kazakhstan, and it was rich source of fish.  Its water sources were diverted to grow cotton.  It will never recover.

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Photo Credit: Gilardr

In short, our choices matter.   They matter this much.

And if that’s not enough, did you know (I didn’t) that the caps can’t be recycled at all?  And that most of them end up in the ocean?  And that in the DEEP ocean, 1/3 of the fish have swallowed plastic, primarily from bottled drinks?

So, I’m banishing bottled water from my lifestyle.   Readers:  do any of you use those Brita Filters that you attach to your faucet?  My gadgetry skills are woeful.  Is it complicated to install?  And does it work?

About the Author


Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com

7 Comments

  1. Yikes! You make compelling points.

    We started with a Brita filter jug that we put in the fridge (held several litres). This was not practical. We then got a larger Brita container that we put on the counter. It works like a coffee brewer: water goes in the top, gets filtered and fills the tank below. You get the water through a spout. This simulates bottled water but starts with tap water. You might find this ideal unless you want refrigerated water.

    When we had our kitchen redone, we had an under-counter 2-stage filter system installed. Water now comes out of a separate tap! This is the most convenient and uses the least counter space. The filters are pricey and the system isn’t portable.

    Riscario Insider’s last blog post..Faster: How To Deal With The Rat Race

    [Reply]

    Apr 27, 2009
  2. Fransen

    If you pour a glass of water and let it sit for 30 seconds, you can no longer smell chlorine. Why? Because chlorine is a gas, and evaporates very quickly.
    Yikes.. I just thought of something else. We banned fluoride from our water here, and now all our dogs as well as our kids have tooth decay, and usually die early because people are not quick to fix their dogs teeth. (if they do at all) BTW I worked for an orthodontist for 20 yrs before retiring, and in the last 10 yrs (when we removed fluoride) we saw children’s cavities double while in treatment. Guess what… tomorrow I am getting some fluoride drops for my dog.

    [Reply]

    Apr 27, 2009
  3. brad

    For many years I used the Brita filters that attach to your faucet; attaching them couldn’t be easier provided you have a standard faucet — unfortunately our new home came with designer faucets that don’t have threading. I’ll replace them someday but it’s not high on the priority list; in the meantime we switched back to the Brita pitcher like the one Riscario Insider describes above. That works fine.

    If you do use a filter attached to your faucet, just be sure to not run hot water through it, otherwise your filter will be toast. There’s a little switch on the filter for the times when you want to use unfiltered water (e.g., for washing dishes or running hot water).

    I do use bottled water when traveling. I used to bring my own water with me in a stainless-steel bottle, but with the fluid restrictions on airplanes that’s not a practical option anymore. I haven’t done a lot of research on which brands to avoid and which ones to choose, but it’s worth noting that the Coca-Cola Corporation has embarked on a mission of “water neutrality” (think carbon neutrality, but for water) in which they replace all the water they use. Coca-Cola owns a dizzying array of brands around the world, including quite a few brands of bottled water. In North America their brand is Dasani. If you want to support a smaller company, look for Poland Spring, which also tries to manage its water resources sustainably.

    [Reply]

    Apr 28, 2009
  4. I haven’t used bottles for a few years, but I still have coffee most mornings. I did not find yet the proper ritual which would allow me to have the refillable, clean container with me on the way to work.

    But I will, because if you can do it, even though it’s inconvenient, so can I damnit.

    good luck to us.

    ioana’s last blog post.._this_ is how you tell me you love me??

    [Reply]

    Apr 28, 2009
  5. @ioana High virtual five, sistah!
    @fransen I’m very interested in your opinion re: flouride. I’d heard that it was mostly a myth? Or had some unintended consequences? Not sure – just had the vague impression it had fallen into disrepute.
    @Riscario and @brad Thanks for the intel re: Brita. I’m definitely going to explore it – I hope I can get the system up here (we have a Cdn Tire). I’ve also heard of a system called Culligan which I’ll check out too. @brad thanks too for the info re: Dasani. Lesser of a necessary evil, sounds like – I’d never thought of the air flight issue, but of course that makes sense.

    [Reply]

    Apr 28, 2009
  6. I use a BRITA jug, but I admit it still doesn’t seem to taste as “pure” as bottled water (maybe I’m imagining that)…. FWIW, I think there’s also a film called “Water” or “Flow” (some one-word title like that) which is also a bit of a moving elegy for water….. many people were talking about it. I haven’t seen it though (or BlueGold, but now I want to!).

    MoneyEnergy’s last blog post..Here’s Why You Should Ideally Have Four Emergency Funds

    [Reply]

    Apr 28, 2009
  7. Oh no I failed this morning.. well, still better than usual!

    ioana’s last blog post..my son is funny

    [Reply]

    May 01, 2009

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