These past few years I got personally attached to the Water issue: there is little information about our impact on water resources and I feel it is an urgent matter that is not addressed properly, at least from a public and consumerist point of view.
Since I moved to the UAE I tried my best to reduce our family water consumption at home (bath and kitchen) and have installed a water filter to the tap in order to stop buying (and carrying) dozens of bottles of drinking water every week: I was also quite upset with the recycling facilities and we were producing at least 20×1,5lt bottles per week. I am totally against plastic bottled water: it is well documented that when plastic bottles are left out in the sun, the plastic heats and carcinogens then leach into the water (BPA and Dioxin).
The filter seemed to be the best option: DEWA (Dubai Water Authority) provides an excellent quality of water and, already so much oil is burned to produce it, that it felt really wrong to burn more fuel in order to fly international branded water. Also, there is no real bottled spring water coming from the UAE: all local bottled water is basically treated tap-water put in a plastic bottle. So if local bottled water is produced in the exact same way as the DEWA one, why should we go with the plastic option?
So today, when I found out that there was a “Water Bar” in Dubai, I felt a bit sad thinking about the lack of awareness there is in the region. Why do we need a Water Bar? Why should we increase our carbon footprint without giving consumers an alternative?
When I visited their website I felt better noticing that they had given priority to glass bottles, and I felt even better when I found out that the Water Bar is a carbon neutral company, part of the UN Global Compact Group, and the only distributor in the Middle East that has a complete recycling program for home and office deliveries:
“We are proud to be recognized as the leading environmental organization in the catering business. We are the only bottled water distributor in the Middle East that has a complete recycling program for our entire portfolio in both glass and PET bottles. With our recycling service, you can have all your glass and PET bottles picked up every time we deliver an order.
Please follow the steps below to help us recycle:
- Order water via our order number or website
- Receive, drink and enjoy
- Place empty bottles back in original box and lightly seal
- When we deliver your next order we pick up the old box containing the empty bottles
- We then send the bottles to the Jebel Ali Glass Container Factory in Jebel Ali”
Here is also a list of Glass Recycling Facts:
- Every month, we throw out enough glass bottles and jars to fill up a giant skyscraper. All of these glass bottles and jars are recyclable.
- Nearly 7 % of household waste in the UAE consists of glass and if we can divert this 7 % away from our bins the pressure on landfill sites and our natural resources will be greatly reduced.
- The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours or a compact fluorescent bulb for 20 hours. It also causes 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution than when a new bottle is made from raw materials.
- A modern glass bottle would take 4000 years or more to decompose — and even longer if it’s in the landfill
- Recycled glass is used to make new bottles and jars, and the energy requirement in the furnace for this process is greatly reduced. Taking into account the logistics and processing, a net saving of 315kg of CO2 per tonne of glass melted is achieved. Also for every tonne of recycled glass used, 1.2 tonnes of precious raw material is preserved.
It definitely a good thing to find responsible companies that make an effort towards going green and creating awareness. But, still, I think we should all drink our tap water. Recycling is an educational step for us to understand the consequences of waste if not properly managed, but the real solution is to avoid creating waste on the first place.
There are technologies, locally available, that allow you to drink water from the air… especially in a region where there is 50 to 90% humidity all year long, this could really represent a solution for a sustainable source of water! But this is another step… Let me know if you are interested