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Bottled Water vs Tea

Earlier this week Eva posted a summary of the carbon footprint for bottled water:

Curious about the results?
Well, energy use embedded in 1 L drinking water delivered to Berkeley CA are:
Calistoga Water –> 1.0 kWh
Fiji Water –> 1.7 kWh
Aquafina –> 1.4 kWh
EBMUD tap water –> 0.0003 kWh
[BTW, if you leave your MacBook Pro on for 16 hour, that’s about 1kWh…]
Our boundary includes transportation, packaging, end-of-life, pipes, dams, treatment plants, supply…almost everything.

What about raw water? 1 L of drinking water is equivalent to…
Calistoga Water –> 3.9 L raw water
Fiji Water –> 5.1 L raw water
Aquafina –> 5.8 L raw water
EBMUD tap water –> 1.2 L raw water

All the embedded stuff mostly comes from the PET bottle, which we tracked all the way back to petroleum extraction. Don’t drink that crap. THE END.

For the record, “raw water” is in the aquifer. It costs 20% extra to be treated and delivered via tap.

Anyway, the thing with bottled water is convenient hydration. Plus we have it infused with various flavors and fizziness, never mind the sodas . . . anyway, I just went to the company kitchen and passed up the beverage refrigerator for a mug of tea. And I have to wonder at the carbon footprint there. It is probably way way less than a plastic bottle, and while a tea bag can travel quite far, it also weighs much less than a bottle of water, so it is a lot more energy efficient. (How you heat the water could matter a great deal: we have a hot-water dispenser her at work, but at home I burn a lot of natural gas to boil a kettle.)

All I’m saying is, maybe tea can be promoted as a more conscientious and classy hydration alternative to bottled water. It’s tap water, dressed up a bit.

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Categories: Excerpts, Featured, Good Reads, News and Reaction, Sundry, Testimonials

  • Natural gas is better than an electric kettle. Nearly 100% of the energy in the gas would be turned into heat at the kettle, whereas burning natural gas at a huge power plant (and usually it’s coal or possibly worse) loses at least 50% of the energy as “waste heat”, which usually just gets pumped into a nearby river. Warm tea for the fishes!

  • Amy

    We have a Zojirushi hot water dispenser. I wonder if it’s more energy efficient than boiling water each time you drink tea.