July 3rd, 2009
We know we need to save water, no really we know, but sometimes we just need a little encouragement to get beyond the low hanging fruit. It is fairly easy to install low flow faucets and showerheads in the house, conserve more, and take shorter showers, but when it comes to saving water outdoors, that’s another story. In most backyards, sprinkler systems were installed well before saving water was a huge issue like it is now, so systems are inefficient and wasteful. With enough time, money and work you could fully replant your yard with drought tolerant plants, rip out your lawn and install a highly efficient irrigation system. If you don’t have the time for that, here are a couple backyard projects you can tackle soon, like this weekend or this month. (more…)
Popularity: 9% [?]
April 30th, 2009
When Americans dine out we typically want to have a special experience, indulging in food and drink that we wouldn’t enjoy at home. We’ll order a pricey bottle of a mighty cab that we might never buy at the wine store or we might order a chocolate soufflé knowing full well that we’ll never make such a dessert in our own kitchen.
And so it makes sense that many of us find the concept of purified—instead of bottled water—difficult to swallow.
While a growing number of restaurants across the country are beginning to serve purified water, eschewing the bottled stuff that eats up massive amounts of fossil fuel getting here from exotic spots such as Italy or Fiji, many Americans continue to be hoodwinked by the perceived status and purity of bottled water, oftentimes leaving facts and the health of the environment to swirl down the drain.
In Chicago, green restaurateur Shawn McClain and his trio of restaurants, including Green Zebra and its exquisite vegetarian dishes and Spring’s evolved fare, stopped stocking bottled water and began offering Natura, an Italian based water purification system. While Natura’s process improves the flavor and purity of water, many diners scoff at paying extra for H20 that doesn’t come in a disposable bottle—regardless of whether it tastes any better or is more pure.
But the fact is that the purifier and others like it often creates water that’s more pure and refreshing than that found in a sealed bottle. Natura’s system involves active carbon filters and a UV radiation chamber which remove bacteria and eliminates impurities and offers the final refreshing dose of water in a dishwasher safe, reusable bottle. In essence, diners get the look and feel of bottled water without the environmental cost. And there’s plenty of research sprinkled across the Internet that shows that tap water bests many bottled waters when it comes to flavor and quality—even New York City tap water.
It’s a given that our bottled water habit is wreaking environmental devastation. Walk along a city street—or a beach nearly anywhere—and you’re likely to see an improperly disposed bottle of water washing ashore. And the bottle you’re likely to see is merely one of billions per year that we Americans empty and toss aside in a year.
Worldwide some 2.7 million tons of plastic are used to bottle water each year, and much of this ends up in landfills, sluicing along inland waterways, rolling across intersections or bobbing in the Texas-sized island of misfit plastic waste bobbing in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Ordering locally produced and purified water makes perfect green sense. In fact, if we’re more serious about addressing the critical environmental issues raised by our consumption of bottled water, we would be willing to pay extra for such water, much as we do for organic produce.
Ordering purified water in restaurants is a good first step toward breaking the bottled water habit, demonstrating that it’s neither trendy nor smart to order bottled water.
Popularity: 3% [?]
April 29th, 2009
We certainly hope so! We’ve written before about the horrible environmental impact of bottled water– and now we’re glad to see that new health evidence may further help people decide to chuck their bottled water habits.
Did you know that Americans send over 35 billion water bottles a year to landfills? And it takes about 1.5 million barrels of oil to make those bottles, so it is an environmental double whammy. (By the way that’s enough oil to fuel 100,000 cars for a year!)
Now on to the health bit. New research coming out of Germany shows that PET plastics (the clear plastic most often used to make water bottles) may also harbor hormone-disrupting chemicals that leach into the water. According to Discovery News, it seems that some as-yet unidentified chemicals in these plastics can interfere with estrogen and other reproductive hormones, just as the infamous plasticizers BPAand phthalates do. Read the full article here.
Make the switch! Tap water is where it’s at! And get a stainless steel bottle to take it with you.
Popularity: 3% [?]