Monday, October 26, 2020
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Bottled Water Blitz Wastes Money & Ignores a Real Risk

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The Costco before the stormWas the mid-Atlantic region's mad rush for bottled water ahead of Hurricane Irene a necessary evil of disaster preparation or a waste of money? As with many questions like this, it's an environmental concern, sure - but the bigger issue is what an unnecessary waste of money it is, along with the real risk we're ignoring.

Yes, bottled water is worse for the environment and might be worse from a health perspective than tap water. But considering Americans drink nearly 9 billion gallons of bottled water last year requiring millions of gallons of petroleum to produce, the Irene surge is a drop in the bucket.

If there's a storm coming and you don't already have backup water, there's absolutely no need to waste money on buying it from the store. Any household has plenty of pitchers, bottles, Tupperware and pots that can serve as temporary tap water storage. For free! Putting those containers in the fridge or freezer can then keep your food cold longer in case you lose power. (Side note: I think people take "water" too literally. Just looking in my own fridge right now, I have a case of Sprite Zero that could sustain me for few days in a pinch. I guess waiting in long lines to purchase items specifically to ward off this threat gives people a sense of security.)

But the whole mad dash to prepare shows just how unprepared most people really are for sudden disaster.