That's how much energy it took to quench Americans' thirst for bottled water last year. That's about 2,000 times the energy required to produce the same amount of tap water. And we haven't even begun to calculate the cost of the plastic bottles discarded from approximately 200 billion (that's b-i-l-l-i-o-n) liters of water sold around the globe.
According to a recent study by the Pacific Institute, when water is shipped relatively short distances most of the energy involved in getting it to consumers is tied up in producing the bottle itself. Water bottles typically are made of polyethelene terepthalate (PET), a thermoplastic polymer resin used to make everything from polyester for clothing to food containers. When bottled water is shipped long distances, the cost in energy can double.
And if you thought those bottles were recycled, think again. Most water bottles are still being made of virgin PET, and the Pacific Institute estimates that about 1 million tons of it were used to produce water bottles for the U.S. market in 2007. More than 60 million water bottles end up in landfills and incinerators every day--assuming they weren't just tossed on the side of the road or are floating in the nation's waterways.
If you must drink bottled water, please fill the bottle out of your tap and re-use it.