The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
October 15, 2010

Blog Action Day: Win an Ethical Ocean Stainless Steel Water Bottle

SunChips bagsDid you know it requires 1400 times more energy to produce bottled water than tap water? Today is Blog Action Day, and thousands of bloggers across the globe are writing on the topic of water. So I thought it would be a perfect day to highlight the new video created by the folks at Ethical Ocean, a new online ethical marketplace, showing just how much energy goes into producing bottled water.

And also highlight the results of Ethical Ocean’s Plastic Challenge.

And give away a reusable stainless steel water bottle.

So read on…

How Much Coal, Diesel, and Water Does It Take to Produce a One Litre Bottle of Water?

Ethical Ocean did the math. Watch the following video to learn the numbers.

I’ve written extensively about bottled water… about the environmental harm from extraction to disposal. And most of us know about the petroleum that goes into the bottle itself. But I hadn’t really considered all the energy and water inputs required to create and ship one bottle: the equivalent of 670ml of coal to power the bottle manufacturing plant, 270ml of diesel fuel to ship, and 2 litres of water just to process the bottles. That doesn’t even include the water in the bottle itself!

If you’re worried about global warming or saving energy, consider cutting out the most unnecessary products first. Bottled water is up there because not only is it harmful environmentally, but it’s completely unnecessary in a country with regulations to ensure clean drinking water. Buy a filter if your water is not perfect. A filter is less expensive than buying bottles of water, and it won’t have the same negative impact on the planet.

(If you’re wondering how Ethical Ocean came up with its figures, check out the references listed at the bottom of their bottled water inputs calculation sheet.

Give Advice, Show Your Plastic, and Win a Bottle!

Four of the Ethical Ocean team members are taking the Fake Plastic Fish Show Your Plastic Trash Challenge this month. (Read my Intro on their blog.) They’ve completed their first week of collecting and tallying their plastic waste, and the results are in. As you can imagine, some participants have further to go than others, but they could all use some advice.

To enter to win a stainless steel bottle, please check out their Challenge Results and leave at least one comment with suggestions for what they can do to cut their plastic even more this month. Receive 1 entry for each comment, for a total of 4 (since there are 4 participants.) AND receive 5 entry points for committing to taking the challenge yourself! Just leave a comment at the bottom of this post letting me know what you’ve done.

11/04/2010 Update: The winner of the Ethical Ocean stainless steel water bottle is Natalie.  Congratulations!

Ethical Market Place

The Ethical Ocean Marketplace works by requiring its vendors to meet criteria in 6 categories: eco-friendly, fairly traded, organic, animal-friendly, people-friendly, social change. But it doesn’t stop there. Realizing that there are conflicting opinions about what makes something eco-friendly, for example, Ethical Ocean takes a crowd source approach, asking its users to rate products and leave comments about the claims made by each company.

For example, there are bamboo products offered on the web site. And there is debate as to whether bamboo fabric is actually eco-friendly or not. Instead of banning bamboo from the site, they have published the bamboo debate on their blog and ask readers to weigh in. But probably a more effective way to weigh in is to rate the bamboo products on the site, voting for whether the product is truly ethical or not and posting a review.

The goal is to provide a space for consumers to hold companies accountable for their green claims, to reward those who are truly ethical, and to call out companies that are merely greenwashing.

16 comments
Alyssa Lee
Alyssa Lee

Thanks, Polina! I appreciate it. Yes, college can be VERY frustrating with trying to be green, although the waste problem is generally better since UCLA tries very hard to be green, and I see many students walking around with reusable water bottles. I still use a plastic one but I always look on enviously when someone takes out their Klean Kanteen. :D Students should really be encouraged to buy a filter. I've heard about green co-ops with composting, greywater systems, solar paneled parking lots, and 2-minute shower limits! It's pretty great. Let's hope we can take that on a grander scale.

Natalie
Natalie

Hi Beth, I commented on all the Ethical Oceaners' posts, and I feel like I'm ready to take the plunge and try your challenge. All plastic is going into a bag for that purpose starting today. Hopefully I can keep it up for at least a month... I just moved to a new (my first!) apartment, so I want to use the Challenge to kickstart me into finding some new solutions for my waste that I haven't had the space or chance to try yet. I would like to put myself out there for the stainless steel bottle. I use an old Nalgene right now from their BPA days and would love to retire it from my day-to-day use.

Yuki
Yuki

I let a comment on the Tony Hancock challenge post I really want to try the challenge but I think it's useless if all i do is only taking pictures of my plastic waste and don't try to reduce it. I do try to reduce plastic for two years now but right now I can't be picky on what food I buy because I'm on a new diet that don't allow any refined sugar, dairies, tomatoes, potatoes and sweet pepper. I have many difficulties to find what i will and can eat each day so I don't want to restrict what I buy even more... ;o( yuki@michelf.com

Polina
Polina

Hey, Alyssa! Props from a fellow marching band member! I, too, get really frustrated whenever I see people drinking bottled water, especially, when the bottled water here is so good. Stony Brook University purports to be environmentally friendly, but there is so much water waste all over campus!

Melissa @ HerGreenLife
Melissa @ HerGreenLife

Alright, I think I'm going to plunge in and Take the Challenge, with my week beginning today and running through October 24th. Due to computer/internet access issues, I may not be able to post my results until November though.

Rob
Rob

Bottled water is stooopid. Period. End of discussion. And while I would love that shiny new ss steel bottle, I don't need another one so count me out of the drawing. I already got 5 ss bottles.

Sandra Lee
Sandra Lee

Beth, I am intrigued by Ethical Ocean's approach to controversial eco-products. Thanks for telling us about that. I want to read further. I appreciate the extra info on the impact of bottled water. It's outrageous! I never drink bottled water anymore and hope this becomes the new fashion trend.

Piper
Piper

I get bottled water delivered to me. I wish I could go without it, but where I live the water may be clean but it tastes really horrible. I've lived here all my life and it's always tasted horrible. Our delivery hasn't come in a while and I've been forced to drink tap water and the only way I can do that is to put drink mixes in it, it's so awful. Instead of using steel bottles I reuse the plastic bottles. I've been using a very small one I got on an airplane for several years now to hold fuel for my backpacking stove. I hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail (2663 miles) using that bottle for my fuel and it has never failed. I also found a really nicely-shaped plastic bottle on the trail and continue to use that to hold water for myself. It has lasted me for over 1000 miles of backpacking trips. I lead Sierra Club hikes and so I try to remember to tell people not to buy new bottles but to refill them. I tell them how long mine have lasted. My next plan is to put up posters about this next to the trails where the garbage can overflowing with plastic bottles sits. On another topic, I've just made a pair of sandals from fused plastic bags. They are so ugly but I think I will wear them to environmental events and also bring them on backpacking trips as camp shoes. I collected the bags in the street as I walked to work, and also some of them came to me because my partner doesn't do anything to reduce his use of plastic. So I upcycled them.

Tony
Tony

Julia, The average energy associated with tap water is 0.005 Megajoules per liter. Bottled water uses 1500 times this at an average 7.6 Megajoules per liter. I think cost is tougher to nail down. It depends on your municipality, and is normally paid for at least in part by taxes. Tony

celia
celia

If you haven't seen "TAPPED" , expose on bottled water, find it or schedule it in your community. It's excellent!

jan
jan

my first easy step is no bottled water!

Madz
Madz

Great post. I really hte the bottled water industry. It's like a big con really, selling us water than they claim is from the glaciers of the french alps or some isolated underground spring when really in a lot of cases it's no different from tap water. I don't have a stainless steel bottle yet but have been reusing a glass soda bottle which is quite sturdy. Screwtop wine bottles are also good - but ofcourse with that there's always the risk of your workmates thinking you're an alky esp when you pull out your wine bottle of water to drink at your desk! lol

sui
sui

since I already have a stainless steel water bottle, I want to open this up to someone else, but... dang. I need to do the plastic challenge sometime. I think in the past I've been a little scared to face how much plastic I do use. an even bigger challenge? not use plastic at all. maybe I'll do that for november! I'm going to write a post on going plastic-free soon, inspired by your blog. :D

Julia
Julia

I am curious, do they have the figures for what it costs (energy and $$$) to process tap water?

Alyssa Lee
Alyssa Lee

I love checking my email and seeing the update from Fake Plastic Fish. I put off my homework to read these blogs. :) Bottled water is definitely my personal enemy, and it has been for a while. I hate how they wrinkle, how they always fall over, how they are always losing their caps, how hot they get, and how ugly they look, especially when they are literally covering the entire bleachers of the Rose Bowl stadium. As a member of the UCLA Marching Band, I had the privilege of seeing this eyesore, not to mention the bottles piling up in the trashcan. And people wonder why recycling isn't a perfect solution! Because hardly anyone ever does it! Anyway, I just want to thank you for all the information you've given to me about bottled water and I'm glad to say they're gone from my weekly plastic waste. Speaking of which, I loved reading the Ethical Ocean members' plastic challenges and commenting- the best part is definitely being able to relate to other people's troubles but also suggesting (and learning) alternatives.

joey
joey

it hurts when I see all the bottled water people drink....with no regard for this planet or other living creatures. must be why I don't care much for people in general. would really like to win an Ecobottle

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