The choice of this product is based on the fact that a number of environmental impacts of bottled water have been raised around the world. This makes it suitable in the discussion on environmental sustainability and conservation. The other reason is that most people do not suspect that environmental pollution can come from such a source. Water is often associated with life. Therefore, it is easy for people to overlook this menace and continue polluting the environment. This makes it a suitable topic for discussion.
The discussion of environmental conservation is a delicate one. At the moment, it is an agenda for most of the humanitarian organizations in the world. This essay seeks to generate a general overview of the same by the use of a single product. Before this, there is a need to analyze the words, phrases and concepts that define the whole idea of sustainability. This explains the need for this part of the essay. According to Elliott (2012), sustainable development refers to development that can be maintained over time. In many cases, people force development by the use of methods that cannot last. As a result, they stretch the resources to critical levels, leading to their depletion (Elliott, 2012).
Sustainable forest management was the first initiative carried out to initiate the discussion of sustainability. This happened in Europe around the 18th century. This concept can be expounded on by the explanation of a sustainable business. This refers to a business that has the ability to run for a long time, adjusting and conforming to the changes that occur around it. However, Elliott further suggests that this is a business that has the ability to continue making profits when faced with a wide range of challenges. Such a business would require a huge setback, if it is to fail. The same concept applies to sustainable development in the environment. It involves development that does not pollute and destroy the same environment in which it should be used. In the end, this development should not hinder the ability of future generations to survive in the environment (Elliott, 2012).
According to Gendron (2013), economic growth refers to the gradual improvement in the value of goods and services in an economy. Different policies are always responsible for economic growth observed anywhere in the world. Consumption refers to the usage of these goods and services by customers who purchase products. Economic growth, consumption and sustainability are interrelated. First, economic growth is caused by the increase in consumption of goods produced. For example, if the purchasing power of a population increases, the consumption may increase. This increases the demand for a product, along with its value. Just like development, economic growth needs to be sustainable. This means that the value of goods should not increase today, while the next day marks an economic recession. It has to be regulated, so that it takes place in a manner that favors its continuity (Gendron, 2013).
The achievement of sustainability largely depends of efficiency. According to Hallett (2013), this word is used to describe the correct and good use of resources to produce goods and services. These resources may include raw materials, effort and time. The good use of resources ensures that there is no wastage in the production process. In turn, it is difficult to exhaust the mentioned resources. The other fact about efficiency is that it ensures maximum utilization of resources, however little they may be. This ensures that, in the future, resources required to achieve certain objectives are still present. In general, efficient systems are most likely to achieve sustainability (Hallett, 2013).
There are different ways in which the environmental impacts of goods and services can be assessed (Meier, 2013). First, the lifecycle of a product can be assessed. Different products impact the environment differently (Meier, 2013). In other words, different products affect the environment at different stages. For example, some may affect the environment during production, distribution or consumption while others – after consumption (Meier, 2013). Therefore, the evaluation of the whole lifecycle of a product can be sufficient to establish the environmental impact of the same (Meier, 2013). It is important to note that the same companies producing these goods and services should not be expected to assess their own goods. This is because it would not be in their best interest. The best ways to assess environmental impact of goods and services is the use of independent bodies. These could be government funded organizations that check different products of companies. The best approach would be a national one. This way, organizations can have rules that regulate and control their activities. The other way is legislation, according to which every organization should present goods or services it provides to the government for assessment. Before licenses are offered, their goods or services should be carefully scrutinized to assess the environmental impact of the same (Meier, 2013).
Lifecycle assessment was the major method used in the analyses of the environmental impacts of this product. This is because the impacts were seen to be occurring at different stages from production to consumption. The water produced by the company is packed in plastic bottles. Most of these plastic bottles cannot be recycled. In the end, they cause massive pollution of the environment. These plastic bottles are distributed to many regions by the use of wind, trade routes, ocean currents and other agents. First, plastics can be used to carry dangerous contaminants around the world. For example, there are some organic pollutants that can be in plastics. Since they are not recycled, these bottles just get distributed around the world. The implication of this is that the pollutants are distributed around the world. Heavy metals could also be contained in plastic bottles. If there are just a few bottles, the effect might not be felt (Fer, 2010).
However, the sale of water in plastic bottles has massively increased around the world. The demand for this water can only increase. This is because water is a resource that is, generally, scarce in the world. It is a resource that is needed by everyone around the globe. Therefore, its distribution is of the highest quantity. With time, plastic bottles have accumulated in the environment causing serious health problems, as well as environmental pollution. Some animals may eat plastic bottles, thinking that it is food. This leads to serious health problems in the affected animals (Foster, 2008). In the recent past, there have been many efforts to analyze the different ways in which plastic pollution can be regulated. This shows the magnitude of this issue.
Another environmental impact of this product occurs during transportation. Many scientists state that the release of carbon wastes in the environment leads to the adverse environmental conditions that the world is experiencing. The water has to be distributed to different places in the world. Sometimes, the distribution involves the use of vehicles that produce carbon wastes. This leads to the lack of sustainability. One may argue that the activities of one company cannot cause global environmental problems. However, there are many other companies that require transportation of bottled water. These companies may choose to use the same means. In such a case, the environmental impact may be bigger than anyone could have thought. There are different ways in which this process reduces sustainability (Great Britain: Department for Transport, 2007).
First, some of water produced by Evian, as well as other companies, comes from snow. The process may take up to 15 years to purify the water. However, snow cannot be ruled out as a source of water (Princiotta, 2011). The release of carbon dioxide in the environment causes the greenhouse effect. This is where the ozone layer is depleted, allowing direct sunlight to hit the earth. When this happens, temperatures around the world increase (Princiotta, 2011). In turn, snow on mountains melts and causes flooding in areas around. At the end of the day, the water flows into seas and oceans. Therefore, global warming can lead to depletion of all snow on mountains. There are some mountains where all snow has melted. This shows the extreme effect of global warming (Princiotta, 2011). When the same process is caused by companies producing water, this means that they do not care about the future. The companies seem to be less concerned about the future generations. This is the true explanation of the lack of sustainability. This is because the companies seem to be engaging in activities that threaten their own survival.
The availability of water in plastic bottles may create an illusion to consumers (Stevenson & Kaafarani, 2011). They may think that in the world there is enough water for everyone. However, this is not the case. For example, Evian conducted a research that suggested that global average temperature increases around the world. This means that they may not be in a position to meet the increasing demand of consumers. Due to reckless actions of people towards the environment, water seems to be a resource that is going to be slowly depleted. Most water producing companies do not take the initiative to educate consumers about the importance of water conservation. The depletion of water, as a resource, may not be witnessed by the current generation (Stevenson & Kaafarani, 2011). However, generations to come may be widely affected. Therefore, water producing companies might be initiating wastage among consumers at the risk of future generations.
There are different ways in which the mentioned environmental impacts can be alleviated. For example, the use of plastic bottles can be controlled by companies that produce water (Ferrey, 2010). These companies can come up with ways in which they can recycle plastic bottles. This can even be done by companies that do not produce water (Ferrey, 2010). The government can also be involved in this initiative, since it is for the best of the community. Recycling of raw materials has various advantages for the producing company, as well as the economy. First, it provides extra jobs for people who work in the recycling industries. Second, it ensures that the cost of production is reduced by a large margin. At the end of the day, the company is able to incur higher profits (Ferrey, 2010).
In addition, there can be separate companies that are formed with the sole aim of recycling these plastic materials. These are companies that may be in a position to collect most of the plastic wastes from consumers and put them to good use. There are a few people in the world that have tried to venture into this business. The major disadvantage is low profit margins (Pagiola, 2002). The major reason for this is that most people who venture into the recycling business do it on a small scale. However, if it is done on a large scale, it may be a very promising venture. This is because the companies involved would enjoy the economies of scale. All the same, governments should take the initiative to protect the environment for the sake of future generations. Important activities, such as recycling of plastics, should be a major agenda for most governments. This would ensure sustainable development, as well as economic growth, along with the sale of different products. This endeavor would require companies to use materials that can be recycled (Stevenson & Kaafarani, 2011).
Evian has undertaken an initiative to enhance its sustainability. In light of the various developments that have been made on the use of plastic bottles, this company has chosen to use 100% recyclable materials in the manufacture of the bottles. In the recent past, this organization started using recycled materials only. This encourages most companies to engage in the same. The reason behind this is that such a company may gain world-wide popularity for the initiative. This enhances its competitiveness. In return, other companies may wish to compete with this to the best of their abilities. Therefore, it is an initiative that has the ability to spread to all parts of the world. With time, the problem of plastic pollution may become history. It may even be endorsed by companies in other industries. There are a number of companies that have engaged in this initiative. However, it has not spread around the world yet (Bessant & Tidd, 2011).
Another bad impact that can be eliminated is pollution of the environment with carbon compounds during transportation. Transportation of water may be done using vehicles that increase the greenhouse effect. Companies should ensure that they come up with innovative ways of transporting their products, without polluting the environment. For example, Evian chose the use of electric trains, which do not pollute the environment by the release of carbon dioxide. This way, the company plays a major role in ensuring that the air is not polluted (Ali & Frew, 2013). When this initiative is taken by other companies, the greenhouse effect can be reduced. This can ensure that the projected increases in global temperature do not occur. In turn, this enhances the sustainability of the water company, since it will have snow available for water production. When transporting water from one continent to another, Evian uses ships. This is another way of transporting the product without depleting the ozone layer. On a general note, Evian has ensured that transportation of its products does not pollute the environment in any way.
Lastly, water companies should embark on a campaign to educate consumers about the importance of water conservation. This is an initiative that would require a huge sense of selflessness and ethical values. This is because it is an initiative that has the ability to reduce the sales of the company (Ali & Frew, 2013). However, the company should look at the greater good for the community. Evian is an example of a company that has embarked on this campaign (Ali & Frew, 2013). As the company distributes its product, it ensures that it educates its customers about the importance of conserving the available water resources. The company informs its customers about the real situation which suggests that there will be scarcity of water in the near future. This way, the consumers know the negative effects that they can cause to the environment when they waste water. Evian also encourages consumers to recycle bottles. Apart from educating them on the same, this company offers prizes to the consumers who choose to recycle the bottles they receive. This encourages them to recycle bottlles, hence conserving the environment. This shows that Evian is a company that should be emulated by others in the same industry, especially on the issue of environmental sustainability (Morris, 2009).
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Water consumption cannot be regulated. The only way that water pollution can be controlled is by recycling and conservation. Otherwise, it would be difficult to institute regulations that prevent the use of water to a certain quantity. However, efficiency can be enhanced. This is by ensuring that the materials used in the manufacture of plastic bottles are recycled (Tisdell, 2005). When this happens, they are put to maximum use. Another way, in which the menace can be solved, is the use of regulatory measures set by governments. They can choose to institute laws that only allow the use of recyclable materials in the industry. This would enhance the recycling initiative by the few organizations that have taken it.
Technological innovation may come up with new and improved ways of transporting products, without depleting the environment. This can go a long way in ensuring that companies do not contribute to environmental destruction. Technology has also made numerous advances in the communication sector (Nneji, 2006). It has become easier for different people around the globe to communicate. These technological innovations should be used by companies to spread vital information to consumers. They should be informed of the importance of water conservation and preservation. Technology can ensure that the information reaches as many people as possible. In a while, this may become a global realization, which may change the attitudes of consumers around the world (Ali & Frew, 2013).
The essay is a vast analysis of the environmental impact of bottled water. Different impacts have been discussed, along with the ways in which they can be reduced. First, it has been mentioned that plastic bottles lead to environmental pollution. Different ways in which they pose danger to life have been analyzed. Water companies are not the only ones that are affected by this menace. There are many other companies that use plastic containers to pack their products (Tisdell, 2005). These are companies that need to consider the environmental effects that their products have. As it has been pointed out, plastic waste is easily distributed around the world (Tisdell, 2005). This means that the health hazards associated with them are also distributed. The world cannot afford to ignore this fact. Companies should try to use materials that can be recycled and used in the production of other bottles. Alternatively, they can come up with innovative ways of convincing consumers to recycle plastic products.
Another environmental impact that has been analyzed is production of carbon-rich wastes when transporting products. Once again, this is a global challenge. This is because most companies require transportation to distribute their products. Pollution due to transportation may not be their fault. However, this does not eliminate the fact that they are involved in the pollution of the environment. As highlighted in the essay, companies should try to use green transport means. In the areas where such means are not available, they should try to invest in technology to ensure that they come up with new ways of transportation. When this is done by most companies around the world, it will become easier to conserve the environment (Fer, 2010).
Lastly, the essay has pointed out that most consumers waste water. The reason is that companies show the consumers that water is readily and cheaply available, causing them to waste water. It has been seen that this could have a huge effect in the future. Therefore, the essay has suggested the education of consumers as they receive the product. Technology can also be used to ensure that many consumers receive the message that they should conserve and preserve every drop of water. This can go a long way in ensuring that future generations will live in a habitable environment.