What Will Break Our Bottled Water Habit?

By Eleanor Barkhorn
See web-only content:
http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2009/09/what-will-break-our-bottled-water-habit/26649/

Bottled Water, photographs by James Worrell from James Worrell on Vimeo.

Something about bottled water brings out the creative in people.

This slide show by photographer James Worrell features elegant images of water bottles of all types, from sleek designer canisters to the gallon jugs you can get at any grocery store. As the show ends, the much uglier hard facts about worldwide bottled water consumption flash across the screen:

In 2008, world consumption of bottled water surpassed 52 billion gallons. About 86% of plastic water bottles in the U.S. end up as garbage or litter.

(For more reasons to skip bottled water, see this post by our nutrition expert, Marion Nestle.)

Worrell is just the latest person to use an unorthodox method to draw attention to our thirst for bottled water: Environmental activist/European banking heir David de Rothschild is at work on the Plastiki, a boat made of used water bottles. When the boat is finished, he plans to sail it across the Pacific to show the world the vast amount of plastic waste that litters our oceans. Members of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation conducted a similar project last year, when they traveled the Pacific in a raft made of 15,000 plastic bottles, taking photos and making videos of plastic litter as they went.

The question, of course, is whether these efforts to raise awareness work. Will a slide show or a sailboat inspire people to drink water out of re-usable bottles and glasses instead of plastic? Or are economic concerns the primary reason people will give up disposable bottles?

Via The Daily Dish.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2009/09/what-will-break-our-bottled-water-habit/26649/