This weekend I will take a day off from everything else to spend some time with my dad. We will sit down and have a meal together, talk about sports, the weather and how his business is doing. I will remember being a little kid and how my dad always looked so tall (I still think of him as tall, even though I have known grown up to be taller than my dad). This Sunday I will enjoy time well spent with my father, but…before I can even think that far ahead I have to figure out what in the world to get for him!
Shopping for my dad is never easy and my whole family has to struggle to find something that he wants that he didn’t already buy for himself. This year I got lucky. Earlier this year the neighborhood well at my parent’s house turned the water brown. To be fair, their water is not all that great to begin with, but brown is never a color you want to see coming out of your tap. The two filters that my dad has set up for the refrigerator and kitchen sink kept their drinking water clean, but the increased sediments in the water eventually clogged the filters. So I got my dad some replacement filters for Father’s Day!
Before you judge my dad’s gift think of it this way, for the same cost as dinner and a movie I gave him 6 months of clean drinking water. I know it may not be the most exciting gift, but I know it is one he will use and appreciate every time he gets a glass of water. Just in case you think your dad could use a filter or two this Father’s Day (or if you are a Dad and are shopping for filters) be sure to check out our special Facebook offer for 15% off your order this Father’s Day Weekend.
We all know the story of Goldilocks and how she visited the home of the three bears while they were out. You probably heard how she tasted the porridge and tried the chairs, but did you know that she was also really thirsty?
First Goldilocks took a glass and filled it from the tap and it was good, but it was not quite cold enough. So she opened the fridge and saw a bottle of Aquafina. She knew the Aquafina bottle was nice and cold, but Goldilocks had read online about how chemicals can leach from PET plastic into the water. She also knew that over 20 billion plastic water bottles are thrown away in trash cans and landfills every year. So she took her glass and filled it from the the refrigerator’s water dispenser instead. When she tasted it she was pleasantly surprised because it was cold, tasted great, and safe to drink. You see, the filter inside the refrigerator was independently tested by the NSF so Goldilocks knew that the water she was drinking was safe.
Okay, maybe that is not how the story really goes, but the story of Goldilocks and the three bears is just a myth. A lot like these myths about drinking water from the NSF consumer information website. NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) International was founded in 1944 to provide public health and safety-related information to concerned consumers around the world.
NSF International performs independent testing of water filters to verify their contaminant reduction claims.
Here are the common myths about public drinking water from the NSF page, see if you know the truth about your water quality before you click the link to get the answers.
- We have less water today than we did 100 years ago
- Once you use water, it is gone
- If there is lead in your water, it’s the fault of the water treatment plant
- Using a home water treatment device will make tap water safer or healthier to drink
- Bottled water is always safer than tap water
- Water will purify itself, so we don’t need to worry about it
You may be surprised by some of the answers you find. If you know all the answers without checking the NSF page then you should pat yourself on the back and tell all your friends how smart you are!
How much time do you spend each day thinking about where water comes from and where it goes? Probably not very much and I have to admit I often take it for granted too. Since I watched the Tapped documentary though I have had a bug in my brain about the drought of 2007. I grew up in Dekalb county, but had moved to Raleigh by 2007. A few years ago local communities were running dangerously low on water and still people were dragging their feet when it came to conservation. Back in Atlanta folks were hit pretty hard by the drought as well.
Nestle’s new Pure Life brand is being bottled from municipal sources meaning yet another high volume seller has joined Dasani and Aquafina re-bottling public water. Approximately 40% of bottled water is taken from municipal sources and with Nestle moving their Pure Life brand in that direction this percentage is likely to go up. This bothers me for a couple of reasons, public water systems are supported with our taxpayer dollars. This means that we are subsidizing the commercialization of our own water and then being charged hundreds of times more for that same water. So when you buy a bottle of Dasani, Aquafina, or Pure Life water you are essentially buying water that you already pay taxes on to get from your tap.
Which brings me to Atlanta back in 2007 when the shores of Lake Allatoona and the Chattahoochee River were dwindling from the drought. Meanwhile, as Thomas Wheatley pointed out, Coke was taking public water to bottle for their Dasani brand.
The Coca Cola company was doing what made the most sense and running business as usual to meet public demand. The irony is that had the city of Atlanta run out of water people would have been drinking the same water that used to flow from their taps, but they would have been paying as much as 2000 times more for it. Don’t you think it is time we stopped fueling the bottled water industry? Take control of your water and give up the bottle. You can filter your own tap water with a home filter and fill re-usable containers instead of buying bottled water. I have a built in filter in the fridge so I get most of my drinking water from there. How do you filter your water? I look forward to seeing your comments so we can share some ideas about how we can all make smarter decisions about our drinking water.
As a part of this year’s ASUC voting at UC Berkeley students are asked to lend their support for Bill 94 to help UC Berkeley reach its waste reduction goals. The vote, which lasts from April 5th-7th, will determine the fate of bottled water sales on campus. Thanks to @MyWaterOurWater for sharing the Daily Clog post about the vote.
I wanted to find out more about the ASUC voting so I looked up the 2011 UC Berkeley voters guide to see what Bill 94 was all about and have included it below in it’s entirety.
Bill 94 The End the Sale of Bottled Water Initiative
“UC Berkeley currently has a goal to reach 75% waste diversion by 2012 and zero-waste by 2020. Barring emergency situations, do you support the respectful request for
(1) the renogotiation of any existing campus contracts to phase out the purchase, sale, and distribution of bottled water
(2) for increased campus access to public water including hydration stations and better maintenance of drinking fountains, in order to aid the realization of the aforementioned waste-reduction goals?”
Given what we know about plastic pollution and the negative effect that bottled water has on the environment, especially in the ocean, it is great to see more students get involved with our future. Bottled water is not sustainable, especially when you consider that only 10% of singe-use water bottles will be recycled. The second point in Bill 94 promotes better maintenance and more availability of hydration stations on campus so students don’t have to buy bottled water and can carry re-usable canteens instead. This is the perfect solution. Nobody likes to pay the high premium on bottled water so give them a viable alternative.
Your home has a hydration station already, your refrigerator. Your fridge is probably where you go when you are thirsty so be sure to keep it stocked with plenty of water, just not the bottled kind please. Use a water pitcher or dispenser to fill a re-usable bottle or glass and drink responsibly. If you have a newer refrigerator it may already have a water filter built-in. You can put Bill 94 to use in your home and help reduce your waste too.
Image Source: Klearchos Kapoutsis under Creative Commons
Are you smarter than an 8th grader? I found this story on the Santa Cruz Sentinel site about a school that is ditching plastic water bottles in favor of reusable canteens. At Scotts Valley Middle School in California the students have picked up on a bright idea for the future, stop drinking from plastic water bottles. It can all be summed up in the message eighth-grader Hanna shared at a presentation for other students, “Water bottle trash is out of control. About 90 percent of the garbage in the ocean is plastic. Most of the garbage on the beach is plastic.” If you already knew that than you are at least as smart as Hanna when it comes to plastic pollution.
The class project to promote reusable canteens was put together by 3rd year teacher Brendan Dilloughery and received a $6,000 grant for the school from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. So not only are the students at Scotts Valley Middle School learning about great ways to help the environment they are also learning there is a financial benefit to it as well. For the rest of us who won’t be receiving a $6,000 grant to stop using plastic water bottles there is still a direct reward to our wallet by giving up bottled water. Bottled water is far more expensive than tap water. Fill a reusable bottle, like this stainless steel bottle from Klean Kanteen, with water taken from your home refrigerator. The water will already be nice and cold and costs far less than even the cheapest brand of bottled water on the market.
I am pretty sure that the ocean bound namesakes of the Scotts Valley Middle School Dolphins would be proud of the students for their contribution to stopping plastic pollution.
April Fools Day is wrapping up and I hope you were all able to enjoy a good joke or prank today, hopefully not at your own expense either. Even on a fun day like April 1st it is important to think about some serious topics too. I found a great bulletin from Groundwater.org that lists their top ten ways to protect groundwater. I have copied the list into the post for you to check it out.
I think the thing that surprises me the most is how simple it can be to make a difference. Things like taking shorter showers and only running the washing machine or dishwasher when they have a full load are easy and actually will save you money too. My favorite point on the list has to be keeping a pitcher of water in your fridge. One of the big attractions to bottled water is how easy it is to just open the fridge and grab some water to drink. I know because I feel the same draw towards convenience, but bottled water is really bad for the environment and carries a higher price tag as well. Try filling a pitcher with water and storing that in the fridge so that when you need a quick sip you can quickly poor into a glass or a re-usable bottle instead. If your refrigerator has a water filter just fill the glass or bottle from your dispenser. If you don’t have a water filter you can get a pitcher that has a built-in filter. When you refill from that pitcher you will be getting cool, clean, and delicious water straight from your fridge and you will be saving money too.
Here is the full list from groundwater.org of how we can all help protect and conserve groundwater. Each day we can make good choices, like using less water and saying no to single-use plastic bottles.
- Reduce household chemical use and dispose of remaining chemicals by taking them to a hazardous waste collection site.
- Take used motor oil to a recycling center.
- Limit the amount of fertilizer used on plants.
- Take short showers.
- Shut water off while brushing teeth and shaving.
- Run full loads of dishes and laundry.
- Check for leaky faucets and have them fixed.
- Water plants only when necessary.
- Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator.
- Get involved in water education.
I have talked in great detail about the various contaminants that end up in bottled water and the tap water that comes from your local water utility. The best way to reduce your exposure to impurities in your water is by using a home water filter system. Many homeowners already have a water filter system for their refrigerator’s ice and water dispenser. A refrigerator water filter is the easiest way to filter water and should be replaced about every 6 months to maintain optimal filtration. If you do not have a filter system in place already, a great place to start is by finding out what is in your water.
The Environmental Working Group has compiled reports from water utilities across the country to give you easy access to your water quality report. Once you know what contaminants are present in your water you can make a better decision about what type of water filter to use in your home. I have attached my own water report as an example. As you can see the water is tested regularly and certain chemicals are consistently tested higher than health guidelines, but are not considered to be over the legal limit. So my water utility is not breaking the law, but my water is still unsafe to drink.
Because of this I do not drink any water from the tap in my apartment unless it has been filtered first. I use a Brita faucet filter that was easily attached to the kitchen sink to filter water for drinks and cooking. It works great and took about 5 minutes to set up.
There are many ways to filter the water that enters your home and reduce the contaminants in it. Whatever kind of water filter you choose just make sure that it has been certified by the NSF, an independent organization that tests filters to make sure their filtration claims are accurate. Once you have a water filter that reduces impurities in your water you will probably notice that it tastes better too! A sweet bonus.
At this point most people know there are trace levels of a
variety of contaminants present in their drinking water. The quality of our
water is adversely affected by pollutants and pesticides from factories and farms
as well as naturally occurring contaminants. Contaminated water is not a new
problem, but scientists are starting to discover another link in the chain of
chemicals found in our drinking water, prescription drugs.
This time, though, it is not the fault of a big bad corporation
polluting our water. The traces of pharmaceuticals found in water sources
downstream from sewage treatment plants seems to indicate that many people are
flushing away their expired and unneeded medications. Tests on the water have
found by-products of anti-depressants, antihistamines, and anti-seizure drugs
make up the highest percentage of prescription drugs in the water supply.
Even in low doses these chemicals are not the kind of things
we want in our drinking water. The EPA is now testing to assess the risk of
drinking these chemicals to humans, but study results will not be available
until next year.
If you do not already use a water filtration system it is
definitely something to consider. Water filters carry a relatively low price when
compared to how many gallons of clean drinking water they provide consumers.
The best part is that your water will not only be safer to drink, but it will
taste better too!
You have probably noticed by now that the produce in your
refrigerator deteriorates over time. It’s always a sad day when you have to
throw food out because it has gone bad while sitting in your crisper drawer. To
make matters worse you have to deal with the rotten food smell that spreads
through the entire refrigerator and sometimes even your kitchen.
I have blogged about the benefits of water filters before,
but some refrigerators also have a built-in air filter. If you have an air
filter in your refrigerator it should be replaced just like your water filter.
For Electrolux refrigerators that use the EAFCBF Pure
Advantage filter you should replace the filter every 6 months. The EAFCBF
helps eliminate odors, control humidity, and keep food fresher longer. It also
saves you money by reducing energy consumption.
For owners of Frigidaire & Electrolux PureAdvantage refrigerators
there is also the EAF1CB air filter which combines activated carbon,
zeolite, and baking soda to remove common odors from foods like onions, garlic,
fish, sour milk and overripe fruits and vegetables.
For some GE Arctica refrigerators
the FreshSaver GFSFR02 filter can be found in the Fresh Produce Pan and
helps remove the ethylene gas that can be emitted by the fruits and vegetables
stored in your fridge. Ethylene gas speeds up the deterioration process that causes
your produce to rot. The indicator light on your refrigerator should come on when it is time to replace the air filter.
Some refrigerators don’t have a built-in air filter, but you
can still maximize your produce life by following some simple guidelines.
You may already keep a box of baking soda in your fridge to absorb odor and combat
bad smells, but there is an even better way to control odor and help improve
the taste of food in your fridge.
The Gonzo Refrigerator Odor Eliminator works for both
refrigerators and freezers and eliminates airborne bacterial odors, absorbs
odors from strong-smelling foods and helps make fresh and frozen foods taste
better. The best part is the non-toxic volcanic minerals in the Odor Eliminator
last up to 10 months and can be completely recharged by simply placing the 8 oz
packet in direct sunlight for 6 hours.
So whether you have a built-in air filter or not you can
still control the odors in your refrigerator or freezer to maintain cleaner,
fresher air and improve the taste of food.