Bottled water a real drain on everyone

More than 57,000 people packed Memorial Stadium last weekend to watch Illinois defeat Penn State. While the weather was pleasant, the midday sun and the crowds are enough to make anyone hot and dehydrated. For those needing refreshment, one option is bottled water. The problem of course, is that it sells for three dollars a pop. While there is little we can do to avoid overpriced drinks at sporting events, cutting back on our overall bottled water consumption is in the best interests of our planet and our pocketbooks.

It’s no secret that drinking water from the tap is vastly cheaper than buying bottles, but new studies have shown that, in addition to being economically detrimental, we’re not doing the environment any favors either.

An August column in Time magazine stated the carbon dioxide emissions generated by importing bottled water from Fiji, France and Italy each year was equivalent to that produced by 700 cars. The environmental footprint of the unrecycled bottles alone amounts to billions of pounds of waste annually.

So is there any reason for the Champaign-Urbana community to keep feeding this habit?

Illinois American Water and the University of Illinois water system both have excellent records when it comes to the quality of the water that comes out of your tap.

Unfortunately, despite the United States’ overall high ratings when it comes to tap water, sales figures show that for some reason, we don’t trust what comes out of our pipes. We are so distrustful that, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, the United States consumed roughly eight billion gallons of bottled water in 2006. That outpaced Mexico, the next largest consumer, by several billion gallons.

This over reliance on what is quickly becoming one of the most lucrative commodities in the world is bad news for those who use water for what it was intended to be – a natural resource.

Put simply, developed countries like the United States don’t need bottled water as much as other disadvantaged nations.

So instead of wasting money buying a drink you can get for almost nothing out of the tap, fill up an Illinois water bottle and take that to class with you. You can save your cash for other beverages and do just a little bit to bring more common sense to American consumer tendencies.

But as the band is tuning up for this weekend’s game against Wisconsin, remember that if you must buy a bottle of water from the concession stand, be sure to find a recycle container. Or better yet, hang on to it, refill it and reuse it. After all, you did pay three dollars for it.