The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that Minnesota needs more than $5.4 billion in the next twenty years to repair and maintain the state's water infrastructure. And it's probably no surprise that budget cuts have pushed public water further down the list of funding priorities.
But I was shocked to learn, from the advocacy group Think Outside the Bottle, that the state of Minnesota spent $165,000 last year on bottled water. Additionally, the University of Minnesota, a state institution, spends about $178,400 annually. In just a few years, bottled water has become something of an environmental catastrophy--the energy and waste created by transporting and packaging bottled water is astounding. According to the Pacific Institute:
Making bottles to meet Americans' demand for bottled water required more than 17 million barrels of oil last year - enough fuel more than 1 million U.S. cars for a year - and generated more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide.
To put it another way, the entire energy costs of the lifecycle of a bottle of water is equivalent, on average, to filling up a quarter of each bottle with oil.
So please prioritize tap water over bottled and support other organizations that do the same.