It is time to eliminate bottled water in the doctor office. Why? Because everything about bottled water is bad: it’s costs, it’s unhealthiness, its waste, and its influence on your patients’ choices at home.
Bottled water versus city water from faucet? Let’s run through these one by one. Bottled water costs a lot of money, and it takes 2-3 bottles worth of water to manufacture one filled plastic bottle. By comparison, tap water served in a cup is basically free. Your options for cups are many: buy cups that can be washed & reused, or cups made from paper or corn which can be recycled or composted. Either way you save a bundle over a year.
Is bottled water also bad for your health? Maybe. Your faucet water must meet time-tested State & Federal water standards. It is tested daily and the results published on line– check out your water provider’s website or city water department for the facts. You will read that some water contains tiny amounts of toxins but so does bottled water and just about all the foods we eat in quantities that are so miniscule that if you live in the US, Canada or Europe you can ignore these potential toxins for all but a few towns. Most bottled water comes from the same municipal water, but then goes into plastic bottles that can leach toxic plastic residues into what we drink. And most bottled water is not subject to regulations or published testing. It sounds really dumb to buy this stuff, and it is!
The environmental costs of bottled water are huge. The plastics come from petroleum and require energy for their manufacture, shipping & disposal. Even recycling them uses energy and produces air pollution, greenhouse gases and cancer-causing air toxics.
One more benefit of tap water is that by drinking it you are supporting your local water supply, and in a small way supporting its maintenance and availability in the future.
Your doctor office sets the example for your community. If your patients see you buying bottled water they think they should too. So teach good health in your office, and good environmental health, by letting your patient know the truth about bottled water.
Here is how your office Green Team gets this done, step-by-step:
1. Discuss the bottled water Action Step in MGD’s “Water Efficiency” Workbook.
2. Adopt a policy to end bottled water in your doctor office, and get it approved by the office leadership.
3. Announce this to your co-workers, encourage them to bring a favorite water mug to work, & buy a set of reusable or recyclable cups for patients and visitors. Here is another idea: buy mugs with your office logo for each Green Team member as a reward for their efforts!
4. Download and print for your waiting room the free My Green Doctor brochure, “The Truth About Bottled Water”. Your patients will soak these up, and distributing the brochure earns your office one Education Step towards your Green Doctor Office certification or re-certification.
For more information, see My Green Doctor’s “Water Efficiency” Workbook.
Go ahead and save the planet!