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But It's Just a Bottle of Water


Author(s)

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 Areas

Regulatory issues

Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division, General public & informal education

Format

PDF

Type / Methods

Dilemma/Decision, Discussion

Language

English

Subject Headings

Environmental Science  |   Ecology  |   Hydrology  |  


Date Posted

01/07/06

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