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[greenyes] emergency water for homes in PETE/PET bottles?

I'm working on community disaster preparedness. One key issue is drinking water -- authorities recommend 1 gal/person/day for 5 to 7 days, which seems reasonable. Here in California the chances of a devastating earthquake is generally estimated at over 50% in the next 30 years, and when that happens, a lot of people are going to need water.

People around here aren't storing enough water. As far as I can tell, most aren't storing any.

Maybe those big drums and barrels conventionally recommended aren't very attractive sources --not very convenient to move or store or empty and refill. And the water generally tastes of plastic or bleach or both. Even if it is safe after three years, it's yucky.

MAYBE the answer is commercial bottled water in polyethylene terephthalate (PETE/PET) bottles.

Wait, don't flame me yet!

I figure my typical family of 4 can store 1 gal/person/day for 7 days with 9 cases (of 24 0.5 liter bottles) or 6 cases (of 35 0.5 liter bottles), two sizes I picked up at Costco recently. There's no set, legally-required shelf life for this water, as far as I can find, but a year maximum is often recommended. We can certainly drink 9x24 or 6x35, about 220 bottles in a year. If we use the oldest case first, we're assured of enough fresh water to meet the recommendations and we're probably healthier for drinking more water as we go about our daily lives. I think it's about $6/case (plus CRV, I suppose) -- not too bad.

This approach is a possibility IF people recycle all their bottles (yeah, sure) and IF the PETE/PET recycling is reasonably efficient (what about the tops and rings?) and IF the recycling process itself isn't significantly damaging (toxic byproducts?) and IF all the entire recycling picture doesn't use an inordinate amount of energy. And so on.

OK, now flame me.

Seriously, this is a possible solution that could save many lives in a disaster and I need to understand all the ramifications. Your constructive comments and ideas, please.



Henry Neugass
Palo Alto REDI
Palo Alto, CA

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