Bottled water is everywhere. Convenience stores, grocery stores, delis, bars, restaurants — bottled water is one of those commodities that’s truly difficult to escape. However, just because bottled water is omnipresent doesn’t mean its global impact is overall good.
It’s not the water itself that’s the problem. It’s where water comes from and how plastic water bottles are made (and later decompose — or don’t) that make a seemingly innocuous product potentially quite harmful. Here are some reasons why your bottled water might be causing more harm than good.
There’s no shortage of reporting on the ways that single-use plastic is wreaking havoc on the environment. Remote island shores are covered in incredibly high volumes of plastic waste. The world’s largest ocean gyre of plastic waste has over twice the surface area of Turkey. This plastic finds its way into marine life and birds in alarming quantities: nearly all albatrosses have indigestible plastic in their stomachs, in which plastic blocks proper digestion of food and water.
Plastic water bottles, most of which are single-use, are a major contributor to the world’s ongoing marine plastic crisis, but that’s not their only drawback. The way in which single-use plastic water bottles degrade is strongly damaging to the environment. In landfills, single-use plastics can take more than half a millennium to degrade. Yes, 500 years. When plastics do degrade, they break down into microplastics, minuscule plastic particles that further exacerbate pollution and release toxins into their surroundings. Truly, then, plastic doesn’t fully go away.
Many bottled water companies collect water from the planet at a faster rate than it is naturally replenished. Due to high global demand for bottled water, collecting the earth’s water for use in plastic bottles can rapidly deplete what would otherwise be fully stocked water sources. This lack of water tends to have a negative ripple effect on local agriculture and wildlife.
Excessive reliance on natural water sources for bottled water use can also have far more dramatic impacts — namely, adversely affecting the water source’s salinity. As more water is pumped away from a freshwater source, water from elsewhere can sometimes diffuse into it. When this water is saltwater rather than freshwater, this diffusion can drive the water source’s salinity far above the minimum at which humans can drink it, as saltwater is unfit for human use.
Bottled water brands use as many as 17 million barrels of oil every year to create the bottles in which they store and distribute their water. The environmental harms of oil usage are diverse and well-documented, but fossil fuels remain the dominant source of energy today. Their use to store water — a resource already available in many homes across the world — only exacerbates the ills of fossil fuels.
Creating water bottles also uses no small amount of water. To create one plastic bottle, the amount of water needed is three times more than the volume of water the bottle can store. This means that every purchase of a water bottle is essentially the purchase of four water bottles.
Atmospheric water generation (AWG) has shown the potential to address the concerns that plastic water bottle use presents. AWG is, at its most basic, the process of turning air to water. Air is a limitless resource, whereas the amount of the earth’s water that humans can use is minuscule. AWG can thus theoretically relieve the stress that the bottled water industry puts on the global water supply. By generating water from such an unlimited resource, AWG can also lessen the negative impacts of needing to use three times the amount of water stored in one bottle to create the bottle in the first place.
AWG, though promising, has shown drawbacks that have to date prevented it from viably countering the issues involved in bottled water use. AWG does not inherently filter out the impurities and contaminants found in the world’s heavily polluted air. Most existent AWG machines and devices produce quantities of water nowhere close to as massive as that readily available in the global water supply. Despite AWG’s flaws, the notion of generating water without disturbing the global water supply is vastly appealing, so at TUAFI, we’ve devised an AWG method that improves on these issues while combating the stresses of plastic bottle use.
At TUAFI, we execute AWG in factories in which temperature and humidity conditions are maintained at levels that result in maximum water output. We use state-of-the-art filtration systems to treat and purify water on-site. We power all our processes using solar panels, giving our facilities a zero carbon footprint.
Our environmental friendless doesn’t end with solar panels. We use air instead of the global water supply to make the water that goes into our bottles, meaning that our factories don’t at all alter the world’s water levels. We package the water we generate in fully recyclable, biodegradable water bottles. Because our bottles are fully recyclable, once they’re made, they can be used time and time again, reducing the oil burden of the plastic bottle industry. Plus, since we generate water from an unlimited air supply, the water used in making bottles is no longer a concern.
Our vision for using AWG factories to combat the global water crisis is unprecedented, and that’s why we’re asking people around the world to help us achieve our goals. Click here to learn about our AWG factory project on Fundable and consider making a donation.