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But It's Just a Bottle of Water



Co Authors:

Lindsey May
Biology Department
University of Wisconsin-Stout

Jessica Kotke
Biology Department
University of Wisconsin-Stout

Charles R. Bomar
Biology Department
University of Wisconsin-Stout
bomarc@uwstout.edu

Abstract:

Bottled water, popular among students, is big business even though issues surrounding it related to health and safety as well as its environmental impact have stirred up controversy. Designed for an introductory non-majors environmental science course, this discussion/dilemma case explores the environmental effects associated with the production, consumption, and recycling of bottled water while touching on health and safety issues. Students also learn about government regulations regarding the extraction of ground water and labeling of bottled water; recycling laws  and how states circumvent the recycling process; and the economic and ecological costs of drinking bottled water.

Objectives:
  • Identify the complexities associated with the production, consumption, and recycling of bottled water.
  • Identify state and federal regulations (FDA, EPA) associated with the extraction of ground water and the potential impacts it has on the environment.
  • Identify potential safety hazards with drinking water, both chemical and biological.
  • Become aware of state recycling laws and how states circumvent the recycling process.
  • Understand the different categories of water and where water comes from.
  • Utilize critical thinking skills to examine the economic and ecological costs of drinking bottled water.
Keywords: Bottled water; drinking water; groundwater; polyethylene terephthalate; PET plastic; plastic water bottle; tap water; Safe Drinking Water Act; Bottle Bill, recycling
Topical Area: Regulatory issues
Educational Level: High school, Undergraduate lower division, General public & informal education
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Dilemma/Decision, Discussion
Language: English
Subject Headings: Environmental Science   Ecology   Hydrology  
Date Posted: 01/07/06
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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