Annual bottled water production accounts for less than 2/100 of 1 percent (0.02%) of the total ground water withdrawn in the United States each year. The bottled water industry uses minimal amounts of ground water to produce this important consumer product-and does so with great efficiency.
The bottled water industry is one of thousands of food, beverage and commercial water users. Bottled water companies actively support comprehensive ground water management practices that are science-based, treat all users equitably, are multi-jurisdictional, and provide for future needs of this important resource.
In the event of drought or other water supply challenges, bottlers can adjust their water withdrawal to mitigate adverse impacts on a water resource. However, the industry is just one small piece of the puzzle and other water users must adopt the same protective measures to help ensure adequate resources for all.
Even though it is a small ground water user, the bottled water industry has been instrumental in encouraging states to develop comprehensive, science-based ground water management and sustainability policies and laws.
Do your part and Recycle
Consumers should be aware that bottled water containers are fully recyclable and should be properly recycled through whatever system a local municipality has in place. In fact, all bottled water containers–whether plastic, glass or aluminum–are recyclable, where recycling facilities exist. IBWA actively supports comprehensive curbside recycling programs and partners with other beverage and food companies, municipalities, and the recycling industry and seeks to educate consumers about recycling and work to increase all recycling to reduce litter.
Plastic beverage bottles are among the most recycled packaged products in the U.S.
The bottled water industry is working to reduce its environmental footprint by using lighter-weight plastics for its containers and increasing the fuel efficiency in the transportation of the product to market.
Convenience-sized water bottles are not a major part of the waste system, accounting for less then one-third of one percent all waste produced in the U.S. in 2005.
The larger bottles found on some home and office bottled water coolers can be sanitized and re-used dozens of times before the bottled water company removes them from the marketplace and recycles them. That is why the bottled water industry is considered one of the "original recyclers."
IBWA member have consistently worked with legislators, regulators, civic leaders, recycling advocates, and others to support legislation and initiatives that improve curbside recycling and increase recycling at parks, sporting venues, other on-the-go locations, and in the home and office.
IBWA is a founding member and an active voice in the National Recycling Partnership, a coalition of food industry associations at the forefront of encouraging new and innovative approaches to increase recycling.
Visit the web site of the Drinking Water Research Foundation for a study summary of the report, "Bottled Water Production in the United States: How Much Ground Water is Actually Being Used?"