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Whether you drink it to quench your thirst or use it to wash your laundry, water is an indispensable part of our lives and our world.
It’s also an indispensable part of a healthy diet. That’s why more and more Americans are choosing to increase their water intake. In 2015, the average American drank 36.5 gallons of bottled water — a 7.9 percent increase over the previous year. In fact, consumers like bottled water so much that the Beverage Marketing Corporation expects it to displace soft drinks as the number one packaged beverage sold by volume by 2017, if not sooner, according to the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA).
Drinking bottled water isn’t just a healthy beverage choice; you might be surprised to learn it’s also an environmentally sustainable choice. For a new perspective on water, here are six reasons why bottle water has become America’s preferred drink.
1. A healthy alternative to soda and other sugary drinks
Amid worries about obesity, diabetes, and other health matters, it’s little wonder that bottled water is poised to overtake carbonated soft drinks as America’s largest beverage category by volume. Bottled water’s convenience, refreshing taste and lack of calories and artificial ingredients are attractive attributes to health-conscious consumers.
2. Small environmental footprint
You probably know that bottled water containers are 100 percent recyclable, but did you know that bottled water has the lowest water and energy use of all packaged drinks? It’s true. In fact, data derived from the Container Recycling Institute (CRI) shows that of all the drink packaging that ends up in landfills, bottled water containers make up just 3.3 percent—and bottled water containers are the number one item found in curbside recycling.
3. The choice for the active lifestyle
Your body naturally craves water, and with good reason. Drinking more water can help improve your mood, increase energy, and promote weight loss through appetite control. Athletes and anyone looking to lead a more active lifestyle should be sure they drink plenty of water to improve stamina, increase muscle strength and keep joints functioning properly.
4. A legacy of preserving the environment
Because bottle water companies depend on clean spring waters and healthy municipal sources, they are continually investing in new science and technology to ensure the purity and safety of the water supply. As environmental stewards, they seek to protect watersheds from pollutants and contamination.
5. Great water, great jobs
In addition to providing consumers with an environmentally responsible, healthy beverage choice, companies that manufacture, distribute and sell bottled water products employ 160,000 Americans and generate an additional 295,000 jobs in supplier and ancillary industries. In fact, the bottled water industry is responsible for as much as $115.73 billion in economic activity.
6. Extremely small water user
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), 355,000 million gallons of water are used in the United States each day. That’s 129,575 billion gallons per year. The bottled water industry uses just 14.39 billion gallons each year, which is just 0.011 percent of all water used.
BOTTLED WATER TAXATION
Under Federal law, bottled water is classified as a food product. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates bottled water as a food product through the establishment of good manufacturing requirements, standards of identity by which manufacturers can label their products, and standards of quality that must be no less stringent than the Federal standards for public drinking water. In addition, bottled water is also subject to the labeling, recall and other food product requirements by FDA. As further reinforcement to the classification as a food product, bottled water is an eligible food product under the Federal food stamp program.
States also regulate bottled water from source approval to production and sale of the finished product. The states that have sales taxes with exemptions for food also include bottled water within the food exemption. For example, in 1994, the Wisconsin Tax Appeals Commission reversed a determination by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue that bottled water was a taxable item. The Commission concluded that bottled water was exempt from the state’s sales and use tax. In its written opinion, the Commission subsequently said:
"common sense leads us to the conclusion that the legislature did not intend to exempt beverages like milk and juice, which we can survive without, and not water, which we cannot survive without."
Bottled water is produced for human consumption, which is the highest and best use of water.
The elderly, infants, chemotherapy and transplant patients, and those with HIV and AIDS often depend on bottled water as their only source of drinking water.
Bottled water also plays a significant role during emergency situations. When disaster strikes, consumers depend on bottled water. It is common to see store shelves cleared of bottled water, and bottled water companies routinely help those in need with donated product or supply product at cost. During the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, tragedy, bottled water companies donated over two million bottles of water to the rescue workers and emergency personnel at the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and Pennsylvania sites.
Targeting bottled water for taxation places an undue burden on a food product upon which many rely for their daily hydration needs. As indicated, those with suppressed immune systems or victims of disasters will be unfairly asked to bear the costs of a discriminatory tax.
The revenue gained must be balanced against the cost of collection and administration. Bottled water is often sold and delivered directly to consumers’ offices and homes. It is also sold in retail stores, vending machines, and various other venues such as sport facilities, amusement centers, etc. As a small specialty niche within the $500 billion food industry, the bottled water industry generates nationally less than $7 billion in sales.
The primary ingredient of bottled water is either groundwater or water from a public water system. The water is processed by a multi-barrier system and is subject to government standards of quality no less stringent than those established for public drinking water. Water withdrawals for bottled water production are insignificant in comparison to the water needed for the production of other products. In New Hampshire, one of the few states with publicly available data on groundwater withdrawals, the entire bottled water industry combined is tenth among the non-public water system, large quantity withdrawals in the state. In fact, bottled water represented 1.78% of the total non-public water system, large withdrawals. New Hampshire law only requires reporting of withdrawals of more than 56,700 gallons/day. When compared to the total large withdrawals, including the public water systems, bottled water represents less than 0.6% of the groundwater withdrawals
Bottled Water is a Necessary Food, Not a Luxury - Bottled water is a regulated food product and provides a critical element to a healthy diet for many people. As with all essential food products, bottled water is covered under the food stamp program and included as a food product within a sales and use tax exemption for food. For some, they have come to depend on bottled water’s quality, consistency, and safety record as their principle source of drinking water.
Taxes Should Be Broad Based and Fair - The purpose of tax policy should be to encourage economic development while raising the revenue necessary to fund necessary government programs and services. The bottled water industry is willing to fund its fair share of taxes, along with the rest of the business community. However, taxes that target only bottled water are unlikely to be a substantial or stable source of revenue for government funding and inherently unfair.
Bottled Water Taxes are Regressive - Government should not place tax burdens on those who are the most vulnerable and need bottled water. Bottled water taxes will have a disproportionate impact on the lower income people who must use bottled water as their source of drinking water. Persons with compromised immune systems, the elderly, and infants often depend on bottled water as their only source of drinking water. Bottled water also plays a significant role during emergency situations. When disaster strikes, consumers depend on bottled water.
Bottled Water is the Highest and Best Use of Water - Bottled water is intended exclusively for human consumption. This is often referred to as the highest and best use of water. As the trend continues toward healthier lifestyles and the desire for a safe, consistent quality beverage, more and more people are turning to bottled water as their drink of choice.
Bottled Water Industry Takes Comprehensive Steps to Protect the Environment while giving high quality source of hydration
Bottled water is comprehensively and stringently regulated in the United States at both the federal and state levels, which helps ensure its safety and quality. At the federal level, bottled water is regulated as a packaged food product by the FDA under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). It must meet FDA’s general food regulations as well as standards of identity, standards of quality, good manufacturing practices and labeling requirements specifically promulgated for bottled water.
According or Mr. Doss: “All food and beverage products are regulated under the same statutory regime and bottled water is no different in this respect than juice, carbonated soda, or energy drinks. Bottled water is subject to the same general prohibitions against adulteration and misbranding as other beverage products, and is subject to the same general requirements for ingredient labeling, nutrition labeling, and product claims as other beverage products, as well as good manufacturing practices.” Mr. Doss added: “From a market and legal perspective, bottled water is the same as other beverages such as soft drinks, teas, and juices, which also have water as their primary ingredient.”
Mr. Doss told the Senate hearing: “FDA has determined that the containers used by the bottled water industry to be safe for use with food products, including bottled water, must be made from FDA approved food contact substances.” The plastic and glass containers used by the bottled water industry have undergone FDA scrutiny prior to being available for use in the market place.
To ensure across-the-board bottled water safety, in 1995 the FDA established standard of identity regulations for bottled water, determining uniform definitions for the following bottled water classifications: bottled, drinking, artesian, groundwater, distilled, deionized, reverse osmosis, mineral, purified, sparkling, spring, sterile and well water.
“IBWA supports a consumer’s right to clear accurate and comprehensive information about the bottled water products they purchase,” said Joe Doss. “IBWA agrees with the FDA’s conclusion that placing this information is not feasible for many reasons including limited space available. We believe the most feasible mechanism for consumers to obtain this information is through a request to the bottler or distributor.”
IBWA believes that consumers should have timely and easy access to information about their bottled water products. To help ensure that consumers have access to useful and meaningful bottled water product information, the IBWA Code of Practice requires all members to comply with the following:
- All proprietary brand products must include a telephone number on their labels so consumers can easily contact the company and request product information.
- IBWA maintains an online member database, which also contains a specific link to a member company’s water quality information and/or contact information that may be used to secure a company’s water quality report.
A visit to IBWA’s website: www.bottledwater.org will provide consumers with Water Quality Information for every IBWA member, with a web link to the company or with posted data provided by the company.
The bottled water industry is also strongly committed to stewardship of the environment. Whether it is developing groundwater protection areas, supporting state groundwater management programs or developing new technology to reduce the plastic needed for its containers, the bottled water industry has been on the forefront of innovation in the food and beverage industry in developing policies and technology to promote environmental stewardship.
Bottled water is one of thousands of food and beverage products that are packaged in plastic containers. “Any debate about the post-consumer use or re-use of plastic bottled water containers must include how we, as a nation, increase the recycling rates and capture more of the plastic packaging for reuse,” Mr. Doss commented.
To put the issue in perspective, in 2006 a total of 244 billion units of ready-to-drink beverages were sold, and only 33% of those units were packaged in plastic. A total of 36 billion units of bottled water were sold in 2006, amounting to only 15% of all beverage units sold. That means that 85% of all the beverage units sold in 2006 were for products other thanbottled water. With regard to the lack of recycling of beverage units, bottled water critics claim that our products are filling up municipal landfills. Beverage containers are recycled at an overall rate of approximately 25%, a much higher rate than other food containers, and that rate continues to increase. Bottled water containers, as a subset of all beverage containers, has a recycling rate of approximately 21%. However, bottled water containers make up only 0.3% of the entire municipal waste stream in the United States. Clearly, bottled water containers are not significantly contributing to municipal landfills. Significant overall progress with recycling and the management of municipal waste streams cannot be made unless the public policy net is cast much more broadly than just bottled water. Efficiently capturing and recycling of all plastic products should be a priority.
Light-weighting bottled water containers is a top priority for the bottled water industry. These new bottles use far less plastic than they did 10 years ago. The gram weight of plastic in a PET bottled water container is one of the lowest in the food industry, with less than 12.5 grams for a 500 ml container. This has resulted in substantial decrease in plastic per container in the industry. “This innovation is readily apparent to consumers as they can actually feel the difference in their bottled water container,” Mr. Doss pointed out.
Bottled water plays a vital role in disaster response. Clean, safe water is a critical need for citizens and first responders immediately following a natural disaster or other catastrophic event. Unfortunately, the availability of water from public water systems is often compromised in the aftermath of such an event. During these times, bottled water is the best option to deliver clean safe drinking water quickly into affected areas.
The bottled water industry has always been at the forefront of relief efforts during natural disasters and other catastrophic events. Throughout the years, bottled water companies have immediately responded to the need for clean water after natural disasters, such as Hurricanes Andrew, Charlie, and Katrina, or the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center. More recently, our member companies provided bottled water to those in need in the aftermath of the spring flooding in the Midwest and just two weeks ago to the victims of Hurricanes Gustav and Hanna. The bottled water industry looks to IBWA to help coordinate activities with state and federal government agencies and organizations, such as the American Red Cross and Salvation Army. Working together, we determine the quickest and most effective way to deliver safe bottled water into affected areas to augment other relief efforts. Realistically, it takes vibrant, commercial bottled water industry to produce the much-needed bottled water that is made available for disaster assistance.
According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, in 2007, the total volume of bottled water consumed in the United States surpassed 8.8 billion gallons, a 6.9% advance over the 2006 volume level. That translates into an average of 29.3 gallons per person, which means U.S. residents now drink more bottled water annually than any other beverage except carbonated soft drinks.
“Yet, even at these levels, bottled water accounts for less than 0.02% percent of all groundwater withdrawals annually,” Mr. Doss stated. “
“The U.S. bottled water market is truly a consumer driven market, in which consumers are making healthier choices in the beverage category,” Mr. Doss said. “The strength of consumer self-generated demand is illustrated by the relatively modest amount spent on advertising. The 2006 bottled water advertising expenses totaled only $52 million. For comparison purposes, $637 million was spent on advertising for carbonated soft drinks (over ten times that for bottled water) and advertising expenses for beer totaled $1 billion (approximately 20 times that for bottled water.)”
IBWA membership statistics indicate that bottled water companies in the United States are primarily family owned and operated small businesses. Over 60% of the IBWA membership has sales less than $1 million and 90% have sales less than $10 million. Almost all bottled water brands are sold on a local or regional basis with the exception of imports and purified waters. Thus, the purchase of most bottled water brands allows consumers to “buy local.”
A copy of Mr. Doss’ written testimony is also available on the IBWA web site at www.bottledwater.org.
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A report that will be released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) on Oct. 15, 2008, contains false claims and exaggerations about bottled water products, according to the International Bottled Water Association.
“The testing results show that only two bottled water brands didn’t meet a California state standard for one regulated substance,” said IBWA President Joe Doss. There are many hundreds of brands sold in the United States that are not involved in this study.
“While bottled water products should always comply with all established regulatory standards, the California requirement for this substance is eight times lower than the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standard of quality for bottled water and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maximum contaminant level for tap water,” Mr. Doss said.
In the report, the EWG frequently mischaracterizes substances found in the tested bottled water products and discusses them out of context with accepted scientific determinations, he said.
“In general, the report is based on the faulty premise that if any substance is present in a bottled water product, even if it does not exceed the established regulatory limit or no standard has been set, then it’s a health concern.”
For example, EWG was critical of the bottled water brands found to contain fluoride. However, fluoride can prevent tooth decay and the American Dental Association has stated that “Whether you drink fluoridated water from the tap or buy it in a bottle, you’re doing the right thing for your oral health.” Moreover, the levels of fluoride found in the bottled water tested by the EWG were all in compliance with the applicable FDA standards.
Mr. Doss said the EWG repeatedly fails to draw any correlation between levels of substances found in the bottled water brands tested and the actual levels at which health effects would be evident.
“In another example of the EWG’s alarmist tactics, what they call “fertilizer pollution” are actually organic components that are a natural constituent in all water. Moreover, none of these substances was found to exceed any state or federal standard. The EWG also criticized the tested bottled water for alleged “bacterial contamination.” EWG mistakenly and erroneously alleges the presence of HPC bacteria as a contaminant. Again, the levels of HPC found in the bottled water didn’t exceed any state or federal standard. In fact, HPC is commonly found at these same levels in many foods including fruits, meats, produce, and dairy products and has no adverse health consequences,” he said.
The EWG also criticizes bottled water companies “who unscrupulously use taxpayer-supported tap water supplies” without recognizing that bottled water companies who use public water systems as their source pay city taxes and monthly water fees. In no way is the water “free”, said Mr. Doss.
“In another unusual twisting of science, the EWG incorrectly labels “total dissolved solids” as “pollutants.” While total dissolved solids are not permitted in distilled bottled water, they are important for the taste and character of spring and mineral water. In fact they are such an intrinsic part of what makes a mineral water that FDA has set a minimum level of 250 parts per million for these products.”
The IBWA Code of Practice limit for the reported substance in question is the same as the California standard. However, neither of the two brands mentioned by the EWG were made by IBWA members. The decision to set the IBWA standard at this level was made to ensure that IBWA members who complied with our Code of Practice requirements would meet all state and federal bottled water regulations.
Furthermore, contrary to EWG’s claim, the bottled water industry is a good steward of the environment, Mr. Doss said.
“The bottled water industry uses minimal amounts of groundwater to produce this important consumer product and does so with great efficiency. According to a report issued by the Drinking Water Research Foundation, annual bottled water production accounts for less than 2/100 of a percent of the total groundwater withdrawn in the United States each year. “
In addition, bottled water companies have been taking actions to reduce their environmental footprint. For example, the bottled water industry is using much lighter weight plastics for its containers, utilizing more fuel efficient means of transportation, and developing new technologies in product packaging, such as the use of recycled content. All bottled water containers are one-hundred percent recyclable. While the bottled water industry supports effective environmental conservation policies, we strongly believe that any efforts to reduce the environmental impact of packaging must focus on all consumer goods and not target any one industry. Because bottled water containers make up just one-third of one percent of the entire waste stream, any proposed solutions must cover all consumer products or they will be ineffective in dealing with the environmental issue.
EWG also raised the issue of providing consumers with information about what substances are in their bottled water.
“IBWA supports a consumer’s right to clear, accurate and comprehensive information about the bottled water products they purchase,” he said. “All packaged foods and beverages, including bottled water, are subject to extensive FDA labeling requirements that provide consumers with a great deal of product quality information. In addition, virtually all bottled water products include a phone number on the label that consumers can use to contact the company.”
IBWA believes that the most feasible mechanism for consumers to obtain information not already on the label is through a request to the bottler. Consumers have many options when deciding which bottled water brand to drink. If a bottled water company does not provide the information that a consumer requests, he or she can choose another brand, he said.
Consumers should also consider these additional measures, which help ensure the safety and quality of all bottled water products:
- Bottled water is fully regulated as a packaged food product by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and bound by FDA’s quality, safety, inspection and labeling requirements.
- FDA and state governments recognize both groundwater and municipal water systems as legitimate and valid sources for bottled water production. There are specific labeling and other standards to help ensure consumers are aware of the type of bottled water they choose.
- Bottled water is not simply tap water in a bottle. Bottled water companies that use municipal source water often treat and purify the water employing processes such as reverse osmosis and distillation before it is bottled and delivered to consumers as a packaged food product. The product will be labeled as “purified water,” or alternatively, “reverse osmosis water” if it is treated by reverse osmosis or “distilled water” if it treated by distillation.
- If bottled water is sourced from a municipal water system and has not been further treated, FDA requires the label to state that it is from a municipal or community water system.
- Natural bottled water products, such as mineral water, spring water or artesian water, come from well-protected, underground water sources not under the direct influence of surface water.
- Bottled water products are required to comply at all times with FDA Standards of Quality. As with other food products, bottled water is subject to the food adulteration requirements of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and is also subject recall and the full array of FDA enforcement actions, including warning letters, civil (seizure and/or injunction) and criminal penalties.
- In addition to federal and state regulations, members of the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) are required to adhere to standards in the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice that, in several cases, are stricter than FDA and state bottled water regulations. The IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice is enforced through a mandatory, annual, unannounced plant inspection by an independent, third-party organization.
The following measures are employed by IBWA member bottlers to help ensure the safety of the bottled water brands they produce:
A MULTI-BARRIER APPROACH – Bottled water products are produced utilizing a multi-barrier approach, from source to finished product, that helps prevent possible harmful microorganisms from contaminating the finished product as well as storage, production, and transportation equipment. Measures in a multi-barrier approach may include source protection, source monitoring, reverse osmosis, distillation, filtration, ozonation or ultraviolet (UV) light. Many of the steps in a multi-barrier system may be effective in safeguarding bottled water from microbiological, chemical, and other contamination. Piping in and out of plants, as well as storage silos and water tankers are also maintained through daily sanitation procedures. In addition, bottled water products are bottled in a controlled, sanitary environment to prevent contamination during the filling operation
ROUTINE TESTING - Water used to produce bottled water is tested both as it enters the plant, during production and as finished product. Multiple tests and regular screening are performed by trained quality control technicians to evaluate microbial, physical and chemical quality. Such screening can be used to detect the presence of agents that may be an indicator of product contamination. These protection measures and other quality control programs help ensure that substandard products do not reach the market.
HAACP CONTROLS –IBWA members are required to employ a HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) approach to quality assurance. This practice scrutinizes every step of the production process – from source to finished product – that are critically important to the safety of the product and puts in place systems to help ensure that all safety and quality control processes are functioning effectively. Identification of risk and severity of health effects and control measures for specific biological, chemical and physical agents are included. Widely used in the food and pharmaceutical industries, the FDA considers HACCP a comprehensive method for assuring product safety.
SOURCES AND FACILITIES ARE SECURE AND MONITORED – Natural bottled water products, such as spring water or artesian water, come from well-protected, underground water sources that are required by FDA regulations to be free of direct influence of surface water contamination. The water is collected at sites and bottled at facilities with security systems that may include controlled access to the plant and critical production areas, gating, motion sensors, electronic contact security alarms, and tamper-proof locks. Water intake systems are sanitary and sealed.For brands that utilize community water systems as their source, bottlers work in concert with community water authorities to ensure the security and safety of the system’s source and the community’s water and employ equivalent security measures at the bottling plant.
BOTTLED WATER CONTAINER RECYCLING RATE INCREASES 32%
The national recycling rate for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottled water containers (.5 liter or 16.9 ounce) now stands at 30.9% for 2008, an improvement of 32% over the 2007 rate, according to two new studies by the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR): 2008 Post Consumer PET Bottle Bale Composition Analysis and 2008 Report on PET Water Bottle Recycling.
“This big improvement in bottled water container recycling over the 30% mark, while encouraging, reminds us that still more needs to be done,” said Tom Lauria, Vice President of Communications at the International Bottled Water Association.
The 2007 NAPCOR study on water bottle recycling showed the recycling rate for water bottles was 23.4%, representing a 16.42% increase over the 2006 recycling rate of 20.1%.
The 2008 studies examined post-consumer PET bottle bales in 15 locations in 14 states, and the analysis found: “NAPCOR determined that the total number of pounds of PET bottles and jars available in the United States for recycling in 2008 was 5.366 billion. This number reflects the total amount of PET bottle resin used by U.S. bottle manufacturers from U.S., foreign, and recycled sources, less scrap generated and not reused, exported bottles and pre-forms, and bottles less than eight ounces in size.
In tandem with the new NAPCOR studies, the IBWA has tracked the average amount of plastic used in .5 liter (16.9 ounce) PET bottles, using published data from the Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC) to determine a light-weighting trend in the bottled water industry. In the year 2000, the average weight of a plastic water bottle was 18.9 grams and since then has declined consistently on an annual basis. In 2007 (the last year BMC has complete data) the average weight of a PET water bottle was 13.83 grams, which represents a plastic decrease of 26.7%. This light-weighting trend is steadily continuing as some bottled water brands introduce consumers to a 10.0 gram PET bottle.
“Bottle weight is swiftly tumbling downward as recycling rates for bottled water containers have risen sharply,” said Mr. Lauria. “It is very clear that the bottled water industry is consistently heading in the right direction year after year, while delivering the convenience, safety and refreshing hydration that made bottled water so popular in the first place.”
Contact: Tom Lauria (703) 647-4609
The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) is the authoritative source of information about all types of bottled waters. Founded in 1958, IBWA's membership includes U.S. and international bottlers, distributors and suppliers. IBWA is committed to working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates bottled water as a packaged food product, and state governments to set stringent standards for safe, high quality bottled water products. In addition to FDA and state regulations, the Association requires member bottlers to adhere to the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice, which mandates additional standards and practices that in some cases are more stringent than federal and state regulations. A key feature of the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice is an annual plant inspection by an independent, third party organization. Consumers can contact IBWA at 1-800-WATER-11 or log onto IBWA's web site (www.bottledwater.org) for more information about bottled water and a list of members' brands.
Like Howard Beale in Network, owners of bottled water companies are mad, and they’re not going to take it anymore.
You’d probably be upset too if people were saying incorrect, inflammatory stuff about your products - especially if your products are a healthy, safe, and convenient option for consumers.
Breck Speed, CEO of Mountain Valley Spring, a bottled-water company based in Hot Springs, spoke up to the Arkansas Times this week after the Sustainability Council at the state’s namesake university announced that it is starting “an education program aimed at reducing, and ultimately eliminating, the use of bottled water on campus.”
Speed tells Arkansas Times reporter Doug Smith:
“There are lots of useful things they could do to promote sustainability…Instead, they’re going after an Arkansas industry. There’s no milk bottled here, it’s all shipped out of state. There’s no soda pop bottled here. We [water bottlers] are the only Arkansas-based beverage industry. And we employ a lot of people.”
The Sustainability Council’s intention is clear: reduce the amount of plastics thrown away, and protect the environment while doing so. It’s a great idea, and one the bottled water industry supports.
Trying to rid the campus of bottled water won’t help the cause. Most every industry uses natural resources to make a product, and bottled water is one of many food and beverage products that use plastics.
Should the Sustainability Council also push for students to not drink beverages containing sugar, calories, or other generally unhealthy ingredients, since they come in plastic bottles too?
Should the Sustainability Council ask students to stop showering, since shampoo, conditioner and body wash come in plastic containers?
Should the Sustainability Council tell students to stop eating microwaveable dinners, since they use plastic trays?
(Thankfully, beer is contained in aluminum or glass.)
Of course, the response to those questions is that “unlike bottled water, you can’t get soda out of your tap.” Well, you can’t get bottled water out of it, either. Some bottled water comes from natural groundwater springs that never touches a municipal water system, while other types fo bottled water do, in fact, come from a public, tap source. However, in any case, bottled water goes through a number of filtering and purification processes, and is strictly regulated by the U.S. government and other groups. It is as safe, if not safer than, tap water.
Bottom line: the answer to the environmental crisis is not found in banning bottled water, but in finding comprehensive solutions that consider all the industries that use plastics in containers.
Speed, at Mountain Spring, understands that the Sustainability Council doesn’t want to ban bottled water outright, but that doesn’t satisfy him. And he’s not done fighting, as the Sustainability Council is:
“…raising money to run ads,” [Speed] said. “If they’re going to enter a marketing campaign against bottled water, we’ll have to respond. I’ll run ads. I’ll talk to the UA’s head honchos. I’ll do whatever it takes.”
Speed has already crossed swords with Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody, another bottled-water foe. Speed said in an Arkansas Times article Aug. 14 that bottled water is under attack nationally from three groups — public-water officials, environmentalists, and companies that sell home water-filtration systems.
Going in for a surgery can be a nerve-racking experience. Depending on your diagnosis, the surgery could be an elective or emergency surgery. In either case, the unfamiliarity of the procedure and the uncertainty of the outcome can induce anxiety. Emotional readiness and mental preparation will have a strong impact on the outcome of your surgery.
Here are a few things you can do prior surgery to put yourself at ease:
Ask questions to your doctor
Do not hesitate to clear all your doubts with the doctor. Being well informed about the best treatment by seeking answers for clarity will lead to reduced anxiety. Playing an active role by engaging with the doctor will help alleviate your fears and improve decision making. You could inquire about the following: what alternative treatments are available, the benefits and the possible risks, the cost of the surgery, medication to be taken before surgery, the type of anaesthesia needed, pain management, follow-up therapy and the recovery time. Do not stop asking until you have a complete understanding of the experience you will be having.
Have Social Support
Having family members and/or friends as part of the above discussions with the doctor would not only provide comfort and assurance to you, but they can also help you remember all the information.
Provide accurate information
Make sure to provide accurate information to your doctor about any allergies that you have, any medication you’ve been taking. Communication regarding these and your medical history is important so that the surgeon can advise on continuance or stopping of their usage, and the surgical procedure itself faces no problems.
What not to eat/drink
The night before your surgery, it is generally advised to not eat solid foods post-midnight. This is done to decrease the chance of vomiting and aspiration – which occurs when stomach contents enter the lungs, potentially blocking airflow. You can consume clear fluids (juices without pulp for instance) up to 4-5 hours before surgery unless instructed otherwise. Avoid drinking milk 8 hours prior to surgery as due to its high protein and fat content, it takes longer to digest than other fluids.
What to avoid
Make sure to leave your valuables at home or with your family/friends present at the hospital. Do not wear make-up, jewellery, accessories and body piercings. Avoid usage of lotions, perfumes and scented products. Have a bath the night before and wash your hair. Do not shave your surgical area. Do not smoke on the day of the surgery. If possible, try quitting before it, or at least decrease the amount.
Before the surgery, you will be asked to indicate that you understand the nature of the surgical procedure to be performed and that you give your permission for the surgery. This may appear to be a formality but should be taken very seriously.
The above suggestions are a just a starting point for you as a patient and may not be all-encompassing. Work towards being informed and it will help you feel less confused and more confident about your surgery.