Drinking green water

It seems that these days, that the whole “green” way of life is all the rage, but unfortunately it is also a time of economic recession, forcing many to make thrifty choices in lieu of green ones.

It seems that these days, that the whole “green” way of life is all the rage, but unfortunately it is also a time of economic recession, forcing many to make thrifty choices in lieu of green ones. However, Multnomah County has found a way to incorporate thrift into being green—it’s banning the use of plastic water bottles at all county meetings and functions.

Multnomah County has now joined the national Take Back the Tap campaign to promote the use of tap water and challenge the tap-water myths. The county banned the use of bottled water at county functions and meetings on Thursday, Oct. 14.

Multnomah County is the first county in the state to ban the use of bottled water at its functions. Last February, the University of Portland was the first west coast campus to ban the sale of plastic water bottles.

Multnomah County joining the ranks of Take Back the Tap could pave the way for other Oregon counties to do the same. The plastic water bottle has got to go, and the best way to achieve that goal is to slowly start phasing it out of our lives.

Multnomah County and University of Portland are now setting a precedent for other Oregon schools and counties to join them in promoting the use of tap water. The fact that our tap water is so fresh and clean is a gift, and it is important to utilize it.

Now, Multnomah County will be promoting the use of reusable metal water bottles at county meetings and functions, and will be providing pitchers of water from the tap.

Many people have expressed concerns in the past regarding the safety of tap water, but here is a newsflash for you: Tap water is completely safe.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, the bottled-water industry is required to test the water it uses at least six times per month. Does that seem like enough? Not compared to the Environmental Protection Agency, which requires testing the water that goes to your tap at least 300 times a month.

If you are still uneasy about tap water, then buy a filter and put your paranoid mind at ease. But look at the facts: Tap water is cheaper and is just as safe—if not safer—than bottled water.

“By banning bottled water at county offices and functions, I believe that Multnomah County has helped spread the word about our great tap water in Oregon,” said Portland State Professor Catherine Howells. Howells teaches a senior capstone course with the Portland Water Bureau that particularly addresses Oregon’s tap water.

People need to wake up and realize that tap water is safer than bottled water; they need to refuse to listen to advertisements that portray bottled water as being healthy, clean and pure. According to Beverage Marketing Corporation in New York, American consumers spent more than $10 billion on bottled water in 2009.

This has only led to much more waste than the use of tap water could produce, as most of the plastic bottles sold aren’t recycled. Bottles are also more expensive, costing up to $8 per gallon as opposed to tap water’s cost of .0225 cents per gallon.

Multnomah County’s ban of plastic water bottles at its functions and meetings is predicted to save $20,000–$30,000 a year.

Not only is the ban of plastic water bottles saving Multnomah County money, but if you stop buying plastic water bottles it will save you money in the long run, too. If you invest in an approximately $10 reusable metal water bottle, it will save you dollar after dollar that you might have otherwise spent on plastic water bottles.

The metal water bottles are also more convenient because you do not have to go out of your way to purchase a bottle of water. And with hygienic, easy-to-use tools such as the Hydration Stations in Neuberger Hall, Smith Memorial Student Union and Cramer Hall, you don’t have to go out of your way to fill your reusable water bottle.

Ultimately, banning bottled water helps to reduce the number of plastic bottles in our landfills, thus helping the environment as a whole. Nearly 86 percent of plastic water bottles end up in landfills and it takes 2,000 times more energy to produce bottled water than tap water.

In a time of environmental awareness and penny-pinching, it is a smart move on the part of Multnomah County to ban plastic bottles from their events. Saving the county thousands this way creates a bigger budget for other county priorities. ?