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Debate: TH would ban bottled water

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Should we ban bottled water?


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Background and Context of Debate:

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Current Issues

  • The environment
  • Shortage of petroleum
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  • "To prohibit, especially by official decree" The American Heritage Dictionary[1]

In this debate, the affirmative could choose a full or partial ban. Both would be topical and debatable.

Bottled water

  • "Drinking water (often spring water) that is put into bottles and offered for sale" WordNet [2]

It would not be debatable to define this as any water put into a bottle, but water that is sold in a bottle. It is also fair for the affirmative to limit this to bottles that are made for individual consumption, to avoid allegations that countries without a source of clean water need bottled water.

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The environment

  • Bottled water is currently harming the environment due to the production and disposal of the plastic bottles. This is not a necessary ill because most people buying bottled water, especially those of an individual size, have access to clean water already which they could put in a reusable container.


A full ban on individual bottled water

  • All bottled water sold for individual consumption would be banned. They would not be sold in stores, restaurants, or anywhere else.

A partial ban on individual bottled water

  • Stores and restaurants with the capacity to provide clean tap water in reusable cups would be required to provide it free of charge. Places without the capacity (such as small stands) would not.

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Is bottled the same as tap water?

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In all important aspects, bottled water is the same as tap


  • "Generally, over the years, the FDA has adopted EPA standards for tap water as standards for bottled water," Kim says. As a result, standards for contaminants in tap water and bottled water are very similar. [3]
  • "Thornley, of the Minnesota Department of Health, agrees that consumers can depend on bottled water's safety and quality. But he says consumers should feel the same way about the quality of their tap water. Tap water may sometimes look or taste differently, he says, but that doesn't mean it's unsafe. In fact, the most dangerous contaminants are those that consumers cannot see, smell or taste, he says. But consumers don't need to worry about their presence, he adds. Municipal water systems serving 25 people or more are subject to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. As such, the water constantly and thoroughly tested for harmful substances, he says. If there is a problem, consumers will be warned through the media or other outlets." [4]

The standards for bottled and tap water are almost exactly the same, so there is no real difference in how healthy they are. While consumers might see a small difference, the actual contamination of tap water is strictly regulated.


  • "Consumers typically say bottled water tastes better than tap water. But a series of well-publicized taste tests have repeatedly shown that tap water in municipalities nationwide compares favorably with most bottled waters." [5]

People may say that bottled water tastes better, but this study suggests that it is just a psychological effect. In fact, tap water tastes better than bottled

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Bottled water has certain advantages that tap water does not

Health advantages

  • "Canadians, turned off by bad-tasting, sometimes smelly tap water - and alarmed by outbreaks of deadly waterborne infections"[6]
  • "Health Canada officials say that, as far as anyone knows, no outbreaks of waterborne disease in Canada have ever been linked to bottled water. And officials from Ottawa's Food Inspection Agency say they field few complaints. Blake Ireland, who supervises seven Hamilton-based federal food inspectors, says serious problems rarely crop up. Consumer complaints, says Ireland, are usually about taste or smell - "sometimes if a bottle is left sitting with the cap off for a while, it can get a kind of plastic smell."" [7]

When drinking tap water, there were serious health concerns. Bottled water was better regulated than the tap water, and there have been no health complaints.

More convenient

  • "bottled water's success is about time and energy savings for consumers. Buying bottled water means not having to purchase and fill one's own container. The ability to purchase water readily means that consumers can obtain water when they want it, rather than carrying around a bulky container all day. And when one's thirst is slaked, disposal is just a trash can away; there's no need to bring the bottle home and wash it oneself." [8]

This convenience makes bottled water something that consumers want. People may forget or be too busy to fill and clean a bottle of tap water everyday, or they might run out mid-day. Being able to buy water when and where you want just makes life easier.

Taste advantages

  • "Many people say they buy bottled waters because they taste better. We spoke with people in New York City, asking them why they liked bottled better than tap water. "I drink Dasani. It tastes good, it tastes crisp, like -- natural," one girl said. "I think tap water kind of tastes like sewer," said another." [9]

If the tap water does not taste as good, people should be able to buy themselves something that tastes better like bottled.

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The Environment

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Bottled water is terrible for the environment every step of the way.

The production of plastics

  • "Fossil fuels are also used in the packaging of water. The most commonly used plastic for making water bottles is polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is derived from crude oil. Making bottles to meet Americans’ demand for bottled water requires more than 17 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel more than 1 million U.S. cars for a year.* Worldwide, some 2.7 million tons of plastic are used to bottle water each year." [10]

The production of plastic is both a waste of resources and extremely harmful to the environment. Producing so much plastic for no other reason than to bottle a resource that is readily available is a complete waste and by not producing these bottles we can take a step towards helping the environment without making any sacrifices.

The transport of bottled water

  • "In contrast to tap water, which is distributed through an energy-efficient infrastructure, transporting bottled water long distances involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels. Nearly a quarter of all bottled water crosses national borders to reach consumers, transported by boat, train, and truck. In 2004, for example, Nord Water of Finland bottled and shipped 1.4 million bottles of Finnish tap water 4,300 kilometers (2,700 miles) from its bottling plant in Helsinki to Saudi Arabia." [11]

Transporting water to where there already is a clean supply is a waste of one of our most valuable, necessary, and quickly becoming rare resources - oil. It also is terrible for the environment. Polluting the earth unnecessarily is something we must protect against.

The disposal of bottled water

  • "After the water has been consumed, the plastic bottle must be disposed of. According to the Container Recycling Institute, 86 percent of plastic water bottles used in the United States become garbage or litter. Incinerating used bottles produces toxic byproducts such as chlorine gas and ash containing heavy metals. Buried water bottles can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade. Almost 40 percent of the PET bottles that were deposited for recycling in the United States in 2004 were actually exported, sometimes to as far away as China—adding to the resources used by this product." [12]

Plastic is one of the most harmful substances to dispose of, and that all this plastic is used in excess is terrible for the environment. People are most likely to use bottled water when they are on the go, and thus are less likely to recycle the plastic bottles.

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There is nothing inherently wrong with bottled water.

Bottled water is the same as any other bottled beverage

There is nothing that makes bottled water any worse for the environment than a bottled soft drink or juice. The bottles are made of the same thing, are transported the same distances, and are disposed of the same way.

If people were to be responsible about their bottled water habits, there would not be a problem

  • "Bio-bottles are made from corn but could equally well be made from potatoes, rice, beetroot, bio-mass or pretty much any carbohydrate or sugar. The corn goes through a fermentation and distillation process similar to making corn whisky and is reduced to a monomer called lactic acid (which you can also find in ice cream and pickles). This lactic acid is then spun, linked into polymer chains and moulded into bottles." [13]

If people were to buy this type of bio bottle, from brands like BELU, then the bottles would be compostable. This means they would break down faster. They could still be recycled, but if they were thrown away they would have less of an effect on the environment.

If people were to recycle their bottles, they would have less of an impact on the environment.

If people were to source their bottles locally, they would have less of an impact on the environment.

See also

External links


Bottled water is the same as tap

Bottled water is terrible for the environment

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