Think before you sip: The environmental impact of your water bottle

It’s a hot day, and you’re out and about. It’s easy to reach into the fridge or stop on your way to pick up an ice-cold water bottle to quench your thirst. But not so fast—do you know the impact that choice has on the environment?

While it’s true that you should look to cut back on non-reusable containers where you can, reaching for bottled water might not be as bad as you remember.

The bottled water industry has been working hard to reduce its environmental impact. According to the International Bottled Water Association, all bottled water containers are 100 percent recyclable. PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottled water containers make up just 3.3 percent of beverage containers that end up in landfills (compared to 66.7 percent glass, 7.9 percent aluminum and 13.3 percent soft drink bottles).

Additionally, industry leaders have worked to reduce the amount of PET resin used to make each bottle. According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, the average weight of a 16.9-ounce single-serve PET container dropped by 51 percent from 2000 to 2014.

The bottled water industry has also monitored effects on valuable groundwater. In 2014, the IWBA released a study that showed that the amount of water and energy used to produce bottled water in North America is less than all other packaged beverages. Production also accounts for less than 0.02 percent of all groundwater withdrawn each year.

Even so, the IWBA acknowledges there is more work to be done. While recycling rates for water bottles doubled from 2003 to 2014, the rate for single-serve PET plastic bottled water containers was still only 37 percent, according to the National Association for PET Container Resources.

And there’s another factor to consider—carbon.

When factoring in the transportation of materials, manufacture of plastic resin and production of bottles, some estimate that one 500-milliliter plastic water bottle has a total carbon footprint of three ounces of carbon dioxide.

At Wekiva Island, we are dedicated to reducing our carbon footprint, as well as reducing waste. In fact, we have taken on the 2030 Challenge to go completely carbon neutral by that year. In support of these goals, we have made some changes to how we look at water bottles at the Island.

First, we offer our visitors Icelandic Glacial water bottles. Icelandic Glacial is the first certified carbon neutral bottled water on the planet. Both the product and the operation are carbon neutral, and the company invests in renewable energy, forestry and conservation projects to offset any emissions.

We also encourage guests to bring their own reusable containers and bottles. We’ll fill up your container with whatever you’ve ordered at the Tooting Otter, allowing you to cut back on your consumption of single-serve containers. Even if you don’t bring a reusable container, we offer biodegradable cups and recycling containers around the property to support our efforts.

These are just a few of the ways we’re reducing our impact on Mother Earth at Wekiva Island. We love our natural Florida setting on the Wekiva River, and we’re dedicated to protecting it for generations to come.

We look forward to supporting the bottled water industry as they continue to find new, innovative ways to reduce their impact, and we will continue to be thought leaders in sustainability in Central Florida.

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