Cool Science – Bottled water vs. Tap water

Cool Science – Bottled water vs. Tap water

Hello, my name is Bruce Doran and I’m one
of the Staff Scientists that works here, at Science North on the 3rd floor and what I
want to do is talk about some of the green initiatives that Science North is currently
doing in order to help improve our environment and to minimize our impact on the environment.
You might have seen some of these different green initiatives here, how we decrease our
power usage through the use of different technologies such as LED lights. One I want to talk about
it this apparatus right here, which is called a hydration station and you might ask “why
is this a green initiative?”. Well, the hydration stations have actually been set up so that
visitors would use them instead of actually buying water bottles. What’s really neat with
these hydration stations is that you can use them just like a normal water fountain, where
you press the buttons and the water comes out, or you can actually use them and fill
up a water bottle, just like you would do with any other water bottle. Also, what’s
really neat with these hydration stations is that they have a refrigeration unit and
a filter to make the water nice and cool and more palable to people. Another interesting
feature with these hydration stations is that they have this number right here that actually
indicate the number of water bottles that we actually saved from using this hydration
station. So, you might ask “Why is that important?” “What’s so bad about using water bottles?”
Well, let’s take a closer look at that now. So, let’s take all my water from these water
bottles or water bottles like the ones we have in front of me and on average a human
and adult human will drink about 2 litres or about 4 bottles per day and I would end
up drinking about, water for about 1500 bottles. That’s a lot of bottles wasted, just from
myself. Now, you might think: “Well, it’s no big deal because we can recycle bottles.”
In Ontario, we throw out about a billion bottles per year and only about 30%, 3 bottles out
of 10 here are actually recycled. Most of them end up in landfill sites or end up in
the environment, in lakes and rivers and ditches. So, that’s a lot of garbage. Also, what people
don’t understand is that you can only recycle plastic a certain number of times and eventually
you can take these and recycle them to make materials such as fleece blankets or sweaters,
which are great but then you can’t recycle these and they end up in landfill. So, if
we can limit the amount of plastic that we use, we can limit the amount of plastic that
ends up in landfill. The other issue that people don’t realize is that in order to make
a plastic bottle, you need to use a lot of oil and water to do this. In order to convert
the oil into plastic, you need about 1.5 litres of water in order to create this bottle. This
bottle that will hold the water. So, right there that doesn’t make any sense. And also
you’re using fossil fuels to transport the water to the store and then transporting back
to your house, which again, does not make any sense. Especially since we can get water
directly out of our tap. Let’s take a closer look at that. So, there’s several reasons
why people tell me why they take water from a bottle instead of a tap. One of the reasons
is that most people think that water coming from a bottle actually tastes better than
from a tap. What’s really interesting is, here at Science North during our summer programming,
we actually do taste testing, where’s people drink tap water and bottled water. The interesting
results that we get, although they’re not scientifically accurate, but from general
results, we noticed that people can’t tell the difference, generally between tap water
and bottled water, which is really, really interesting and they didn’t necessarily find
that bottled water tasted better than tap water. Another reason why people tend to also
like water bottles is because they don’t like the chlorine taste of tap water. Well, there’s
an easy fix for that, well, there’s two easy fixes. One, you can use a filter, like a Brita
filter or whatever to remove the chlorine but another method is you can actually just
take tap water, put it in a jug and then put it overnight in your fridge and the chlorine
will just evaporate in 24 hours and then you don’t get that chlorine taste. So, again,
it doesn’t really make any sense to take bottled water when you can just get it from the tap.
Another reason people think bottled water is better than tap water is they think it’s
safer than tap water. Now, bottled water is inspected… but it is not as inspected as
stringently as tap water. In fact, in Ontario, we have the tightest rules when it comes to
tap water and municipal water systems are tested every week for a whole bunch of perimeters,
whereas bottled water are not tested as much. So, in Ontario, in fact, tap water is just
as safe, if not safer than bottled water. The last reason why people tend to, I find
very strange that they take bottled water is they think that bottled water is actually
cheap. They might look at this bottle and say: “Well, it only costs a dollar.” But,
it’s actually quite expensive considering that what’s coming out of your tap only costs
about a tenth to a hundredth what you get from here. So, to give you an idea: If I were
to pull out a cellphone right here, a cellphone that people buy and things like that and you
buy this cellphone for a hundred bucks, if we were to compare with bottled water and
tap water, it would be as if we’re buying a cell phone for a hundred grand. In other
words, I’m paying about thousand times more for something that I can get out of the tap
very easily. So, it just goes to show you that, in fact, what comes out of the tap is
cheap, clean and in most cases, tastes just as good, if not better than bottled water.
So, I hope with this video that you’ll gain a greater appreciation of our hydration stations
and when you come to Science North, take a look at them and actually use them. It’s one
of our initiatives here at Science North to try to decrease water bottle usage and also
throwing these out. So, next time you’re here at Science North and you’re thirsty, please
use them and drink up!

2 thoughts on “Cool Science – Bottled water vs. Tap water

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