Benefits and carbon saved by Asking for Tap, rather than buying bottled water
Although the idea of bottled water has been around for a while, it was Perrier who made it fashionable in the 1970s. Since then consumption has soared, leaping by 43% between 2002 and 2007. Bottled water is now responsible for 18% of the soft drinks market. In 2006 Britons drank 2.3 billion litres, spending £1.7 billion in the process. And of the 13 billion bottles purchased in the UK, less than one in four were recycled, and so contributing to mountains of plastic waste. Despite the marketing, there is also no evidence to suggest that bottled water is in fact any better for us than tap water.
Calculating carbon saved by drinking tap.
According to environmental consultancy Best Foot Forward, the carbon intensity of plastic is 6.25 kg CO2 per kg.
A litre bottle weighs around 25g so:
Amount of CO2 emitted by manufacturing 1 plastic bottle: 6.25 kg CO2 x 0.025 kg = 0.16 kg CO2 per bottle.
Amount of CO2 emitted by transport:
26% of the UK's bottled water is imported, and the majority of this is from Europe. Only a small proportion comes from further afield such as Fiji and New Zealand, the remaining 70% is from Britain.
Assuming that transport is predominantly by road, and the average distance it travels is 1000km:
Emissions of a large truck are 63 g CO2 per tonne kilometre
so for 1000 km:
= 0.063 kg CO2 per tonne km x 1000km = 0.063 g CO2 per kg
or 0.063 g CO2 per litre
Therefore total amount of CO2 emitted = 0.16 + 0.063 = 0.22 kg CO2 per litre bottle.