(Editor's note: This final installment of a two-part series. For part one, this past Sunday's Daily Citizen-News.)
The life of a water bottle begins deep down in the earth, from the building blocks of hydrocarbon feed stock natural gas that likely was procured by injecting large volumes of high-pressure water into rock, or perhaps crude oil from a well in Venezuela.
The gas or oil is then processed into pellets the DNA, as it were, of the budding bottle. The pellets are shaped into the ubiquitous containers and labeled with brand names such as Perrier or Evian or the local supermarket's own brand.
Estimates are all of the water bottles used in the United States each year require the equivalent of some 17 million gallons of oil, according to the Pacific Institute, a global water think tank. That's not counting the energy required to transport the pellets to the plant or the bottle of water often water purified from a municipal well to the store shelf.
From there, the consumer takes the water home to put in the fridge or places it in a cooler to drink at the beach.
After that, the bottle's lifespan is usually quite compressed; the water is poured into ...