Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - November 14, 2019 


New evidence arises from the first impeachment hearing; one in four federal student loan borrowers defaults early on; and growing proof that vaping isn't the healthy alternative it was thought to be.

2020Talks - November 14, 2019 


It's World Diabetes Day, and health care, including the high cost of insulin and other drugs, is a top issue for many voters. Plus, do early states like Iowa and New Hampshire have an outsized role in the nomination process?

Daily Newscasts

Bottled Water: "Awash" with Environmental Problems?

July 25, 2007

Iowans, like the rest of the world, have a love affair with bottled water, but it's coming under increasing criticism for the impact it has on the environment. The Earth Policy Institute says global consumption of bottled water rose 57 percent from 1999 to 2004. I.S.U. Environmental Engineering professor Hans Van Leewen says plastic water bottles are becoming a major environmental hazard in part because they use up valuable petroleum products.

"But the main impact of course of the water bottle industry is the packaging. What happens to all these empty bottles is that they usually just get thrown away."

Van Leewen reports that the manufacture of bottles use up 1.5 million barrels of crude oil a year just in the U.S. because the plastic is made from fossil fuel, and that's just the beginning of the energy used for bottled water.

"Not only the transportation of course, but the additional purification and bottle washing and packaging, handling that's all an additional energy cost."

Van Leewen notes that putting water bottles under the state's Redemption law would help keep them out of landfills, but he says there really is no need for bottled water here at all because of the safety of Iowa's tap water.

Dick Layman/Eric Mack, Public News Service - IA