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-   -   Oil for bottled water (http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=19592)

snopes 04 November 2007 07:23 PM

Oil for bottled water
 
Comment: I was wondering about a claim that
I've heard from a few people and on the radio, presented as true. The gist
of it is that you should never buy bottled water, because whatever the
size of plastic container holds the water, it takes four times the volume
of oil to make the bottle as that bottle holds water. In other words, a
20-oz water bottle requires 80 oz of oil to make. I can't believe this is
true, because it seems that with the rise in oil prices, they couldn't
sell a bottle of Aquafina for 89 cents.

hambubba 04 November 2007 08:56 PM

Wiki page on bottled water.

Quote:

Americans buy about 28 billion water bottles a year
Quote:

The Pacific Institute calculates that the process of making the plastic bottles for the water bottles consumed in the U.S. uses approximately 17 million barrels of oil per year.
17 mill/28 bill = .000607 BBLs/BTTL (!) or, .0000017 Oz of oil per bottle if I have converted everything right.

And, #2 is correct -

Quote:

It also takes water to make a bottle. If a container holds 1 liter it requires 3 to 5 liters of water in its manufacturing process (the higher estimate includes power plant cooling water). By one estimate the total amount of water used to produce and deliver one bottle of imported water is even 6.74 l.

TrekkerScout 04 November 2007 10:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hambubba (Post 389047)
17 mill/28 bill = .000607 BBLs/BTTL (!) or, .0000017 Oz of oil per bottle if I have converted everything right.

It actually works out to 3.264 fl oz/bottle.

17 mil BBL / 28 bil bottles = 0.000607 BBL/bottle (correct)

1 BBL = 42 gal (crude oil conversion)

0.000607 BBL/bottle * 42 gal/BBL = 0.0255 gal/bottle

1 gal = 128 fl oz

0.0255 gal/bottle * 128 fl oz/gal = 3.264 fl oz/bottle

hambubba 04 November 2007 11:03 PM

Ah. I went the wrong way on that last one.

I knew it had to be more! Thanks. So, at today's $90 a bbl price for oil, it costs...

$90 / 42 = 2.14 /gal.

2.14 / 128 = .0167

3.264 * .0167 = .054 /bottle, or 5.4 cents.

Hm. The HI/ME return credit on my Dasnasti bottle is 5 cents. Har.

duffy 05 July 2014 02:03 PM

I appreciate those of you that did math on this. The claim originally looked suspect to me because it lacked attribution whenever I saw it. Now these numbers are looking quite plausible.

jimmy101_again 05 July 2014 08:07 PM

The ~$0.05 worth of oil per bottle is probably pretty close but you probably need to also take into account what fraction of the crude is actually used to make plastics. (Not fraction as in percent so much as in fractionation fraction of the crude oil.) Most crude oil goes to gasoline, diesel and fuel oil production I believe. The rest (the part that is unusable as a fuel) goes to plastics. In some cases that fraction is basically waste product and the true cost is very low since otherwise the refinery would have to dispose of that fraction as industrial waste.

Way way back when, in the US, diesel was a fair bit cheaper than gasoline. That was because the demand for diesel was much lower than gasoline but a barrel of oil produces a set amount of both fractions. Refineries had to sell the diesel at a discount just to get rid of it.


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