Bottled water is not a very green thing to do. But is it slightly better if you’re foregoing funneling remote mountain springs into plastic containers, and bottling recycled wastewater instead? Singapore’s NEWater is doing just this.
Singapore’s NEWater does an excellent job of cleaning wastewater supplies. In fact, they state, “Because it is ultra clean, NEWater is ideal for industry use, such as wafer fabrication processes. NEWater is supplied to wafer fabrication, electronics and power generation industries for process use as well as commercial and institutional complexes for air-con cooling purposes. This frees up potable water for domestic use.”
But why not take the water into the domestic sphere as well? That’s just what NEWater plans to do.
Circle of Blue reports that because the area lacks enough watersheds and rivers to draw water for domestic use, it imports water (as much as 40% of its supplies) and has invested significant amounts of land to create water catchments. So, NEWater will also contribute to the domestic potable water supply.
“To make potable water out of what goes down the drain and toilet, Singapore’s recycling plants use a three-step purification process: micro-filtration, reverse osmosis, and ultraviolet treatment. The end product meets drinking water standards set by the World Health Organization, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Singapore’s own national agency,” states Circle of Blue.
Soon, NEWater will be found both in the tap, as it is mixed with reservoir water, and on store shelves as bottled water.
In this case, the bottled water certainly seems like a better solution than shipping in bottles from other countries. Not ideal, but improved.