Editor, Daily Nexus,

Thirty billion bottles of water on the wall, take one down and pass it around and more than 2.5 million tons of CO2 in the air. According to Pacific Institute’s fact sheet, manufacturing the 30-plus billion plastic water bottles in 2006 required the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil. This is enough to fuel more than three million cars for a year, not to mention the approximate 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide produced in the process.

Furthermore, it takes three times the amount of water to produce one bottle. Plastic water bottles consume large amounts of water and energy in their production and transportation, aggravating climate change and taking money out of consumer pockets. We pay over $15 billion a year for bottled water and consumption is growing at a rate of 10 percent a year. It is not wise for Americans to continue to shovel out money for bottled water that is often tap water anyway. In fact, 40 percent of bottled water sold in the United States is processed tap water, including Pepsi’s Aquafina and Coca-Cola’s Dasani. Not only is it cheaper and better for the environment to drink directly from the tap, it’s often cleaner, too. Tap water is held up to stricter testing standards than bottled water. The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates bottled water, only tests the water once a week, while the Environmental Protection Agency requires hundreds of tests each month on municipal water supplies.

So what should Americans do? Use tap water as your main source of drinking water. After using plastic bottles, make sure to recycle them, as 86 percent of plastic bottles in the United States are not recycled. Use reusable containers for tap water. If you don’t like the taste of the tap water, run it through a filter and put it in the fridge. Use water fountains. Certain cities, such as San Francisco and Portland, aim to eliminate the wasteful use of bottled water. San Francisco’s mayor banned city departments from buying bottled water, even for water coolers. Portland has attractive water fountains that draw people to drink from the tap. Next time you’re thirsty, think twice about buying bottled water. It saves money and your environment.