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Archive for December, 2020

6 Simple Ways to Reduce Plastic Use

Posted by Rayne Water

Reducing your plastic use is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint and live a more sustainable life. While it may seem difficult to find ways to reduce plastic use, it can actually be quite easy! There are also some surprising benefits that come with cutting your plastic use, including saving money and becoming more intentional about the products you buy. 

Let’s dive into our top ways to reduce plastic waste and start giving back to the environment!

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#1. Ditch the Plastic Straw

Plastic straws are everywhere, including in the environment. Single-use plastics like straws are a massive source of pollution, and an easy way you can quickly limit your environmental impact. If you don’t need to use a straw, don’t use one. Let your restaurant server know that you don’t need a straw, and consider bringing your own cup for coffee or beverages while on-the-go. If you do need one, use a reusable straw constructed from sustainable materials such as bamboo or stainless steel. 

#2. Use Reusable Bags

An easy way to reduce your plastic use is to use reusable bags for grocery shopping rather than a single-use plastic bag. Reusable bags are affordable, easy to store, and versatile. Be sure to keep them in your car so you’ll always have them handy for groceries or other items you need to transport. Those reusable bags are perfect for holiday shopping trips as well. Looking for more tips on how to be sustainable on holiday? Check out our guide on the subject!

#3. Buy in Bulk

A major culprit in the amount of plastic Americans throw away is food packaging. But cutting down on food packaging can be a difficult challenge. While there are advanced strategies you can employ to really cut down on your food packaging, a simple step you can do is to buy in bulk where possible. Buying staples like rice, flour, and beans in bulk is both a great way to cut down on plastic and save money.

Be sure to invest in a suitable glass storage solution for the items you are buying in bulk. Proper storage will ensure your staples stay good for longer periods of time, cutting down on the amount of food you waste. 

Also consider shopping at your local farmer’s market for weekly groceries. Locally produced goods will typically lack the excessive packaging of items found at a major grocery store chain, and you’ll be supporting a local community member!

#4. Filter Your Own Water

Ditch the bottled water and start filtering your own water to really make a dent in your plastic usage! Filtering your own water in your home or office will give you access to great-tasting drinking water that costs hundreds of times less than the average bottle of water. 

In addition to saving you money, filtering your own water gives you greater control over what’s in your water. That’s because you’re filtering tap water, which is more closely regulated than what’s in the bottled water you buy at the store. By filtering your own water you’ll have access to a nearly unlimited supply of consistently clean, filtered drinking water on demand.

Encourage your office to make the swap to on-site filtration as well. Office water filtration systems offer a more sustainable drinking water solution that also saves money in the long-run. Looking for more green office environment tips? Check out our handy guide on the subject.

#5. Get a Reusable Water Bottle

Once you start filtering your own water, you’ll need some way to transport it. Ditch the single-use plastic bottles and get a reusable water bottle. Reusable bottles are a great way to stay hydrated on-the-go without negatively impacting the environment. Love cold water? Get an insulated reusable bottle so your water stays cold and fresh all day long.

Making the swap to a reusable bottle can benefit your health as well. Plastics can leach chemicals into the products they hold. While bisphenol A (BPA) isn’t seen as often anymore in single-use plastic bottles, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles can also leech a potentially toxic substance known as antimony. 

Your best bet for avoiding chemicals leaching from plastic bottles is to avoid them entirely. If you do have to use a plastic bottle for your drinking water, always store it in a cool location out of direct sunlight. Want to learn more about the potential health impacts of a plastic water bottle? Head over to our guide on the dangers of plastic water bottles!

#6. Mindfully Shop

Sadly, much of the plastic that we use doesn’t end up recycled. Addressing that problem is one way that you can reduce your impact on the environment. While avoiding plastic-laden food packaging and using a reusable bag will help you make progress, it can be very difficult to entirely avoid plastic packaging.

If you’re wondering how to reduce plastic use for the long-term, practice mindfully shopping for the products you use. Buying in bulk, avoiding individually packaged items, and seeking out items that have been packaged sustainably can all help you reduce your plastic use.

Closing Thoughts

If you’re just starting out with reducing your plastic use, the process can seem a bit overwhelming! Don’t try to do everything at once, but rather focus on an area you can improve and work to improve it. Once you’ve addressed one aspect of your lifestyle that’s generating plastic packaging waste, such as single-use plastic drinking bottles, turn your attention to the next. Approaching the process of reducing your plastic usage methodically will help set the stage for life-long results!

If you’re looking for a more sustainable drinking water solution, Rayne Water can help! We have decades of experience helping residential and business customers produce great-tasting, filtered water in their own home or office, and we’d love to help you find a solution that fits your needs! To learn more, contract us today!

Sources:

  1. “8 simple ways to reduce your plastic use” https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/8-simple-ways-reduce-your-plastic-use-ncna984396
  2. “Reducing Plastic as a Family Is Easy. Here’s How.” https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2018/06/reduce-plastic-use-families-kids-environment-culture/
  3. “4 Ways To Reduce Plastics And Other Single-Use Disposables In Your Kitchen”https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2019/03/10/701684123/commentary-4-ways-to-reduce-plastics-and-other-single-use-disposables-in-your-ki
  4. “Eight Easy Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Waste” https://www.audubon.org/news/eight-easy-ways-reduce-your-plastic-waste
  5. “9 Ways to Cut Down on Plastic” https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/16/style/plastic-how-to-use-less.html

 

Dangers of Drinking Water from Plastic Water Bottles

Posted by Rayne Water

 

*Reviewed by Ken Christopher, Senior Vice President at Rayne Dealership Corporation

Health-conscious consumers have been shying away from single-use plastic water bottles for years, both due to their environmental impact and potential health impacts. But are plastic bottles bad, and if so, what are the dangers of drinking from plastic water bottles? The answers to these questions are complex. 

Though nearly every authority agrees that the dramatic turn towards single-use plastic water bottles over the last few decades has resulted in a massive rise in plastic waste, the potential health impacts of drinking bottled water are more ambiguous. While proponents within the plastic water bottle industry argue that drinking water from plastic bottles is safe to consume, advocates outside of the industry tell a different story. 

Let’s take a closer look to discern whether drinking water from plastic bottles is safe, and if it isn’t what you can do to protect your health and the health of your family.

BPA-Free?

The primary criticism you’ll see leveraged at plastic water bottles circles around the compound bisphenol A, otherwise known by its acronym ‘BPA’. BPA was first developed in the 1890’s as a synthetic estrogen, but it wasn’t until the 1950’s that it began to see use in early epoxy resins. Shortly thereafter, major manufacturers discovered that, when used in specific ways, BPA could produce a type of plastic known as polycarbonate. 

Polycarbonate was attractive due to the fact that it was both hard and shiny, which made it great for use in a variety of products including drinking cups. Within a short period of time, BPA was being used in a large number of products, many of which were outside of the beverage industry. 

Uses of BPA included:

Many of these products still contain BPA today, unless they are specifically noted to be “BPA-free”. In the United States, the use of BPA in food products is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is notable that currently, BPA is only banned in specific products for babies like sippy cups and formula packaging. 

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How Common is BPA?

It’s difficult to assess how widespread BPA is in both the products we use and the environment in general. A 2003-2004 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that, of around 2,500 people tested, around 93% had detectable levels of BPA in their system. 

Detectable levels of BPA have been found in the urine of nearly all adults and children tested in the United States. These include individuals living in both rural and urban environments, in the tissue of pregnant women, their breast milk, amniotic fluid, and in developing fetuses. BPA exposure isn’t limited to one geographic area, but exposure can be greater in certain regions or countries. For example,higher BPA levels were found in women who had lived their entire lives within the United States versus women who had immigrated from Mexico. 

Despite consumer-led pressure to move towards a “BPA-free” world, the use of BPA in a variety of products remains widespread. In 2002 around 2.8 metric tons of BPA was produced for use in a variety of industries. By 2011 nearly 5.5 metric tons were produced.

What are the Health Impacts of BPA Exposure?

BPA is considered an endocrine disrupting compound, which means that it can disrupt how hormones normally function in your body. This can have profound, and lasting effects. While little was known about the health effects of BPA 20 years ago, many studies have since been released that point towards potential health impacts in humans.

Many studies in animals have demonstrated the BPA can result in negative effects on reproduction, development, and metabolic function. More recently, a slew of studies focusing on human health impacts have linked BPA exposure to negative human health outcomes. A meta-analysis of these studies conducted in 2013 found that BPA may be associated with the following negative health impacts:

Exposure during gestation and the early development stages of children is particularly concerning. Potential impacts include:

The more profound and lasting effects of BPA exposure seem to stem from exposure occurring during key developmental windows in children, with effects resulting throughout or later in life.

What About “BPA-Free” Plastics?

The fundamental challenge in understanding whether chemical exposure can lead to negative health impacts lies in the delay between exposure and the health effects from that exposure, as well as the length of time it takes to conduct studies on the chemical and possible impacts. Consider that BPA has been widely used in packaging since the 1950’s, yet only in the last few years have a number of studies come out that draw a clear link between BPA exposure and health impacts in humans.

That same challenge lies at the heart of whether “BPA-free” plastics pose a health risk. In the face of public pressure to move away from BPA-plastics, manufacturers began exploring alternatives. Nearly all of these alternatives contain bisphenol, the “BP” in “BPA”. BPAF, BPS, BPZ, and BPP are just a few examples of BPA-alternatives that are now being used in some “BPA-free” plastics.

While little is known about whether these BPA-alternatives result in negative health outcomes in humans, early evidence suggests that this may be the case. A meta-analysis of BPA and BPA-alternatives conducted in 2018 suggests that BPA-analogs may similarly result in disruptions to reproductive functions as BPA.

In response to the cry for BPA-free plastics, many bottled water producers turned to polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. These plastic bottles can also leach a toxic substance, antimony, into the water they hold. Like BPA, the rate that the chemical leaches into the water is dependent on the temperature it is stored at. However, unlike BPA, PET bottles must be stored in very hot conditions for long periods of time, up to 38 days, until levels of antimony exceed safety thresholds.

A Better Alternative

To limit exposure to BPA and BPA alternatives in drinking water and reduce plastic use, consider using a glass or steel container for drinking water on-the-go. Though avoiding BPA specifically in drinking water containers is possible thanks to the rise of BPA-free plastics, tracking which chemicals those plastics do contain can be challenging. Experts recommend avoiding plastics with the recycling numbers 3, 6, and 7 to start. But the best alternative is to simply abandon plastic containers for drinking water entirely.

If you’re like many people who source their drinking water exclusively from single-use or 5-gallon plastic water bottles, you’ll need to address the root of the problem. Here are a couple of ways that you can easily make the swap away from plastic water bottles:

Transitioning away from bottled water also carries with it some great benefits, including:

Closing Thoughts

The dangers of plastic water bottles stem from the chemicals used to manufacture the bottles. As plastic bottles heat up, the molecules in the bottle move around more rapidly and can leach into the products they hold. While the focus has mostly remained on the dangers of BPA-containing plastics, a new movement towards plastics containing BPA-analogs has given rise to additional ongoing risks associated with plastic containers.

Though eliminating bottled drinking water won’t eliminate your exposure to BPA and BPA-analogs given their widespread use in food packaging and other industries, it will lessen your exposure to any chemicals that may leach from your bottles into your water. Whether it’s BPA, BPS or other BPA alternatives, or antimony found in PET bottles, transitioning to glass or steel containers for your water is an easy way to reduce your exposure.

Transitioning away from plastic water bottles also carries other benefits, such as lower-cost drinking water, reduced environmental impact, and greater control over contaminants. If you’re curious about cost-effective water treatment options for your home or business, contact us at Rayne Water today. With decades of experience working in water treatment, we’d love to help you find a safer, cost-effective alternative to bottled water.

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Sources:

  1. “Exposed to extreme heat, plastic bottles may ultimately become unsafe” https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/07/exposed-to-extreme-heat-plastic-bottles-may-become-unsafe-over-time/
  2. “Why ‘BPA Free’ May Not Mean a Plastic Product Is Safe” https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2018/09/news-BPA-free-plastic-safety-chemicals-health/
  3. “Antimony leaching from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic used for bottled drinking water” https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2007.07.048
  4. “Effects of bisphenol A and its analogs on reproductive health: A mini review” https://doi.org/10.1016/j.reprotox.2018.06.005
  5. “Bisphenol A and human health: A review of the literature” https://doi.org/10.1016/j.reprotox.2013.08.008
  6. “Exposure of the U.S. population to bisphenol A and 4-tertiary-octylphenol: 2003-2004” https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.10753
  7. “Left your bottled water in a hot car? Drink it with caution, some experts say” https://www.today.com/health/bottled-water-hot-plastic-may-leach-chemicals-some-experts-say-t132687

Expert Reviewer – Ken Christopher

8 Green Office Environment Tips

Posted by Rayne Water

If you’re looking for ways to go green in the office, it can be daunting to know where to start. From sustainably built office furniture to green energy and everything in between, going green can be a big task!

That’s why we’ve assembled our top green office environment tips that you can use to create a more sustainable, ecologically-minded workplace. 

#1. Go Paperless

Cutting paper usage is a great way for businesses of all sizes to immediately reduce their carbon footprint. Paper makes up nearly 90% of office waste in the United States, so even reductions to your printing will produce results.

With cloud-based collaborative application suites like Office 365 and Google Suite, transitioning to a paperless office environment has never been easier. Seek out creative solutions leveraging technology when you run into a roadblock. Members of your team having difficulty without a paper meeting agenda? Use a tablet for agenda items, or allow employees to pull up their agenda on their phone. 

To truly go paperless, your office will need to strongly embrace digital spaces and tools. Encouraging employees to store, share, and work on files digitally can bring additional benefits, such as increased productivity and visibility into ongoing projects. You’ll also save money on printing consumables like paper and toner, as well as reduce your overall energy consumption.

#2. Consider Green Power

If you haven’t yet, you may want to consider investing into a green energy solution for your office. While it isn’t always feasible for small or medium businesses to generate their own sustainable energy, many electricity producers offer sustainable energy plans. 

Sustainable energy plans source a portion or all of your energy from renewable resources like wind and solar energy, allowing you to easily and conveniently reduce your environmental impact. Alternatively, if you live in a deregulated electricity market you may simply be able to shop around for a power provider that offers renewably sourced power.

While energy from sustainable sources such as wind and solar may come at a higher rate, sourcing all of your energy from a green source offers businesses that aren’t able to invest in physical infrastructure, such as on-site solar panels, the ability to reduce their carbon footprint. At the same time, sustainable energy plans help encourage investment into renewable energy infrastructure, which makes them a great way to invest in long-term sustainability.

 

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#3. Power Down

If you’re looking for environmentally friendly ideas for offices, one easy-to-implement tip is to completely power down your computers and office equipment at the end of every workday and weekends. While some critical equipment must be kept running at all times, most office equipment and desktop computers should be shut down each evening. 

In addition to creating a strict powering-down policy in your office, it’s a good idea to make sure that your computers and office equipment have the correct energy-saving settings. Configuring and managing energy-savings settings at the institution-level will result in the most consistent results. 

Tuning your thermostat settings can also offer energy savings. Many offices have their thermostat set very low during the summer, and very high during the winter. Consider installing a programmable thermostat and changing to 78°F during the summer, and 68°F during the winter when your office is occupied.

#4. Go Bottleless

Bottled water solutions for office environments may be increasing your carbon footprint more than you realize. Bottled water delivery services result in greenhouse gas emissions at each stage of the process, from manufacturing the bottle to transporting it to your office. Though bottled water delivery services are far more expensive than tap water, easy access to drinking water is a perk all employees love. 

The solution is to go bottleless with a bottleless water cooler! Bottleless water coolers have roughly the same form factor as your familiar office cooler, but eliminate the heavy and unwieldy bottles entirely. Bottleless water coolers filter tap water on-demand to produce as many gallons of clean, filtered drinking water as your office needs each day. Plus, if you’re trying to create a green office, you’ll want to encourage your employees to reduce plastic use and bring their reusable bottles to work.

Bottleless coolers filter out a wide range of contaminants that may be in your tap water by using two different filtration methods; reverse osmosis and activated carbon. The combination of these filtration methods produces a nearly unlimited supply of crisp tasting, filtered drinking water at a fraction of the cost of bottled water.

Whether you’re looking to reduce your office’s environmental impact, minimize the dangers of plastic water bottles, or simply save money on your drinking water, a Rayne Water bottleless water cooler is a great option.

#5. Create a Green Team

Want to maximize the reach and impact of your quest for a green office? One of the best ways to do so is to create a team of employees to manage and implement the project. Known as sustainability or green teams, these teams of employees engage with peers in an organization to build awareness about sustainability initiatives, provide mentoring and training, and encourage awareness and engagement.

Creating a green team is an easy way your business can begin working toward a green office. Employee-led sustainability teams are an unbeatable way to encourage employee buy-in for green office programs. Empowering members of the group to design and implement new programs, such as company-wide training on how to be sustainable on holiday or how to cut plastic usage, ensures that the program is tackling office sustainability issues that your employees want to see first.

#6. Reduce Indoor Pollution

To create a more environmentally-friendly office environment, get a couple of large indoor plants and encourage your employees to keep a plant on their desk. Indoor plants are great for creating healthier indoor air quality. That can be important in stuffy offices, or offices without environmentally friendly furniture. 

The extra oxygen indoor plants produce can help counter the off-gassing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from office furniture. As part of your effort to go green, you’ll want to look at how your office furniture is made and what the potential health impact of it is. Understanding that your office furniture, as well as your carpet and paint, is probably polluting your indoor air is an important first step towards mitigating the effects of that pollution. 

Lastly, invest in non-toxic cleaning supplies for your office. While it may be tempting to purchase the most powerful degreaser possible, the chemicals in that cleaner may be doing more harm than good. Thankfully, there are excellent non-toxic cleaning products out there that are more than capable of keeping your office space clean and smelling fresh, with an added benefit of improving your office’s indoor air quality.

#7. Lighting

To effectively transition towards a green office, you’ll want to maximize your use of natural lighting and minimize your use of artificial light. Artificial light accounts for a significant amount of energy usage in a typical office, and there are some quick and easy solutions you can implement to see real results.

Try these tips to reduce office energy consumption:

#8. HVAC

We’ve already mentioned that you should consider installing a programmable thermostat, but you’ll also need to maintain your HVAC system to maximize your energy efficiency. You probably don’t realize it, but most HVAC ducting passes through unconditioned spaces of your office building. Leaky ducting can lose a significant amount of heat through those cracks, which is simply wasted. Because of this, be sure to have your HVAC ducting inspected on a regular basis to ensure any leaks are identified and fixed so you’re not just wasting money.

Also be sure to have your HVAC system tuned up and calibrated each year by a qualified technician. A yearly tuneup of your system can improve efficiency and ensure it’s more effectively heating or cooling your office. Make changing your air filter a regular part of your HVAC maintenance routine as well. If you live in fire-prone areas like Southern California, you’ll need to replace your air filters more frequently.

Closing Thoughts

Transitioning to a green office is a great way to encourage employee engagement by working together to create a better environment. We’ve outlined some of our top tips for creating a green office, including transitioning to a sustainable energy plan, creating a green team to design and implement sustainability initiatives, and ensuring taking steps to ensure your lighting, HVAC, and furniture are encouraging a healthy working environment.

One of the best ways to go green in an office and give back to your employees is with a bottleless water cooler. Bottleless coolers are more environmentally friendly than bottled water delivery services, yet are capable of producing a nearly endless amount of filtered drinking water each day. With a bottleless water cooler your office will save money and reduce your environmental impact, all while offering your employees the benefit of clean water on demand.

If you’re looking to reduce your office’s environmental footprint, start with a Rayne Water bottleless water cooler. To learn more, contact us today!

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Sources:

  1. “Going green: 10 ways to make your office more eco-friendly and efficient” https://www.techrepublic.com/article/going-green-10-ways-to-make-your-office-more-eco-friendly-and-efficient/
  2. “Green Tips for the Office” https://www.thebalancesmb.com/going-green-ideas-for-the-office-2948097
  3. “Energy Savings Tips for Small Businesses: Offices — Owners and Tenants” https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/offices

 

How to Be Sustainable on Holiday

Posted by Rayne Water

The holidays are a time for us to celebrate, reflect, and spend time with those closest to us. However, the gift giving and decorating that accompany the holiday season lead to increased waste in the United States. 

For the many people searching for ways to live more sustainably throughout the year, the holiday season presents unique challenges. How do you honor traditions while still living sustainably? The good news is that it’s not as challenging as you may think. To help, we’ve outlined some easy-to-use tips you can implement in your life to reduce your waste and energy consumption, while still celebrating the holidays in a way that aligns with your traditions.

 

#1. Ditch Single-Use Plastics for Hosting

If you’re hosting a holiday party, the easiest solution is often to use single-use plastic cutlery, plates, and cups. While those offer quick cleanup, they aren’t recyclable which makes them a bad choice for the environment.

If it’s your turn to host, consider using reusable silverware, plates, and to-go containers for leftovers. You may have to spend a bit more time doing dishes, but you’ll help reduce plastic use.

A huge source for single-use plastic waste in the United States are water bottles. If you’re searching for ways to create a more sustainable home during the holidays, ditch those plastic water bottles and encourage visitors to bring a reusable bottle. Even better, fill their reusable bottles with water you filter in your home! 

Not only is home filtered water more cost-effective than bottled water, but it’s also a more sustainable choice. If you run into resistant relatives, talk to them about the dangers of plastic water bottles and consider giving the gift of a reusable water bottle.

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#2. Give Sustainable Gifts

If you’re searching for how to be sustainable on holiday, minimize the amount of waste that ends up in landfills by giving gifts that are more sustainable. Here are some things to look for in the gifts and toys you give this year:

 #3. Reuse and Recycle Gift Wrap

The best practice for a sustainable holiday is skip the gift wrapping altogether. That doesn’t mean you have to eliminate the element of surprise! The keys to sustainable holidays are creativity and flexibility. Creative solutions can yield a fun holiday experience without impacting the landfill, such as hiding your gift somewhere and using clues to lead the recipient.

If you’re a traditionalist and love to wrap your gifts, use these sustainable tips:

#4. Swap to LED

While we produce more waste during the holiday seasons, we also use more electricity. All of those lights and decorations can quickly add up and substantially increase your home’s electricity usage. 

If you’re looking to create a more sustainable home this holiday season, swap out your old lights with fresh LED lighting. A strand of LED Christmas lights only uses around 4 watts of power, while a traditional string of lights uses around 34 watts per strand. Not only will making the swap to LED help the environment, you’ll quickly realize the savings on your holiday utilities bills! Also be sure to set your Christmas lights on timers so that they’re visible at night, but not wasting energy throughout the day. 

If you’re looking for green office environment tips, be sure to make the swap to LED lighting and set timers on any office holiday decorations as well. But don’t stop there! Take a moment to read through our handy guide on how to create a more sustainable office environment through the holidays and beyond.

Closing Thoughts

Implementing more sustainable practices through the holiday season is a great way to reduce your home’s environmental impact. For a more sustainable holiday, give gifts that are long-lasting, made from sustainable materials, produced locally, or are regifted. Upgrade your traditional Christmas lights to more environmentally-friendly LED lighting, which will not only reduce your environmental impact but also lower your utility bills. 

Gift wrapping can sometimes be avoided altogether using creative methods, but if it can’t, be sure to reuse gift wrapping and avoid any metallic wrapping paper or bags that can’t be recycled. That goes for cards as well. Use paper cards that can be recycled where possible, and avoid plastic cards that can’t be recycled. If you’re hosting a party, avoid using single-use plastics like plastic silverware, plates, or water bottles. Instead use reusable silverware, plates, and drink containers.

Looking for even more ways to create a more sustainable home during the holidays and beyond? Ditch the plastic altogether and filter your own water! Filtering your own water can save you money while helping the environment. To find a water filtration solution that’s right for your needs, contact Rayne Water today!

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Sources:

  1. “The Most Common Holiday Recycling Mistakes” https://www.wsaw.com/2020/12/01/the-most-common-holiday-recycling-mistakes/
  2. “Sustainable Holidays” https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/8829.html
  3. “Green Your Holiday Season” https://green.harvard.edu/tools-resources/green-tip/green-your-holiday-season

 

Does Drinking Water Boost Your Immune System?

Posted by Rayne Water

 

*Reviewed by Ken Christopher, Senior Vice President at Rayne Dealership Corporation

It is more important than ever to ensure your immune system is operating at its best, but what’s the best way to do that? Experts recommend that you maintain healthy habits like not smoking, eating nutritious food, and exercising regularly. But does water help your immune system?

It’s a great question that has a complex answer. Let’s take a closer look at the relationship between hydration and immune system function. In doing so, we’ll also explore some of the other really important reasons that you should stay well-hydrated for your overall health.

Can Drinking Water Boost Your Immune System?

The short answer is no, drinking water can’t boost your immune system as far as we know. Though drinking water can’t “boost” your immune system, it does play an important role in supporting our existing immune system function. Our immune system is a complex network of interwoven parts, each functioning together to protect us against disease. 

Water plays a crucial role transporting nutrients between cells, helping our body eliminate waste efficiently, and facilitating detoxification. By fulfilling these functions, water helps support a healthy, well-functioning immune system.

However, it is also important to understand that staying well-hydrated is one part of maintaining a healthy and functioning immune system. Other actions people should take include:

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day?

Recommendations for how much water you should drink each day vary depending on the source of information, your gender, size, and activity level. 

The University of California, Irvine’s Integrative Health Institution recommends drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. So if you weigh 140 pounds, shoot for drinking 70 ounces each day. If you weigh 200 pounds, you need to drink around 100 ounces each day.

Keep in mind that you lose water each day through perspiration, and if you are working out regularly you will sweat more, and so may need to consume more water to stay adequately hydrated. Similarly, if you drink beverages that contain caffeine such as coffee or tea, you will need to drink additional water to replace the water lost due to the diuretic effects of caffeine. Other waters, such as speciality sports waters, aren’t generally necessary for proper hydration. If you’re wondering, “is alkaline water good for you?”, check out our recent article on the subject.

Also note that you’ll get some of the water you need each day through your diet. That’s particularly true if you are eating a nutritious and balanced diet that includes an adequate number of fresh fruits and vegetables, both of which are rich in water.

Benefits of Good Hydration

There are many powerful reasons why you should consider staying well-hydrated beyond supporting your immune system function. Hydration is at the core of how our bodies function, which means that the effects of dehydration extend far beyond increasing our risk of getting an upper-respiratory infection. 

Here are some of the top reasons you should consider keeping your drinking water bottle topped off:

Seek Out Good Water Sources

While it is critical to stay hydrated, it is also important to ensure the water we drink is free of potentially harmful contaminants and toxins.  Common contaminants in drinking water include:

Not only can contaminants like microbes cause acute illness in the short-term, but long-term exposure to contaminants like synthetic or organic chemicals, or heavy metals, can lead to organ damage or increase the risks of certain types of cancers. 

Because of this, it is crucial to not only drink an adequate amount of water, but also to ensure the water you drink has been appropriately treated for a wide range of potential contaminants and toxins. If you’d like to find out what’s in your water, consider scheduling an in-home water test or consulting your water supplier’s annual water quality report. These can tell you important information about your water, including the ph of tap water in your district and what types of contaminants are present.

Closing Thoughts

Adequate hydration is key to supporting a healthy, functioning immune system. Water facilitates the transfer of nutrients between cells, helps your body eliminate waste efficiently, and is crucial for the healthy function of our body’s organs and systems. 

Alongside a healthy lifestyle that includes proper nutrition, sufficient exercise, and adequate sleep, good hydration is a critical tool for ensuring your body’s immune system is functioning at its highest level. Supporting your immune system means eating good foods and drinking clean, filtered drinking water that is free from harmful contaminants.

To learn more about how to produce great-tasting drinking water cost-effectively in your own home, contact our team at Rayne Water today. We’ll help you find out what contaminants are in your water, and find you a treatment solution that fits your needs. 

Sources:

  1. “Stay Well-Hydrated for a Strong Immune System” https://ssihi.uci.edu/tip/hydration-for-immune-system/
  2. “Water, Hydration and Health” https://dx.doi.org/10.1111%2Fj.1753-4887.2010.00304.x
  3. “How to Boost Your Immune System” https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system

Expert Reviewer – Ken Christopher

5 Contaminants in Your Drinking Water

Posted by Rayne Water

Do you know what’s lurking in your drinking water? Despite treatment processes, a wide range of contaminants often persist, leading to drinking water contamination.

This is a widespread issue, even in water supplied by public water suppliers across the country.

Gaining insights into the most common water contaminants, and understanding their potential impacts on health and home, can help you decide if in-home water treatment is necessary.

Types of Contaminants in Drinking Water

In the United States, common water contaminants are varied and can be found even in treated drinking water.

Although many contaminants are treated and removed before reaching your tap, occasional lapses can lead to exposure.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which set federal drinking water standards, categorize common contaminants in water into four main types of water contamination:

These categories encompass an array of substances, some harmless like certain minerals, and others linked to serious health effects like immune system damage, organ harm, or increased cancer risks.

For a comprehensive overview of these contaminants, the EPA’s National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWR) provide a detailed list, which is regularly updated through the EPA’s Contaminant Candidate List.

1. Microbial Contaminants

Microbes, a significant biological contaminant, include:

Legionella, causing Legionnaires’ disease, emphasizes the threat of microbial contaminants in public water systems. Reverse osmosis is effective in treating water for microbial contaminants.

2. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

VOCs, prevalent chemical contaminants, are commonly found in many household and industrial products. They include substances like Chloroform, Toluene, Perchloroethylene, etc. Activated carbon filtration is highly effective in removing VOCs from drinking water.

3. Heavy Metals

The Flint water crisis truly showed us the dangers of heavy metals like lead in water supplies. Common heavy metals in drinking water include Lead, Copper, Arsenic, etc. Treatments like reverse osmosis and ion-exchange units are effective against heavy metals.

4. Disinfectants and Disinfection By-Products (DBPs)

Disinfectants like chlorine, crucial for water safety, can form harmful by-products. Granulated activated carbon (GAC) filtration is the best treatment for removing disinfectants and DBPs from drinking water.

5. Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

PFAS, recently recognized for their potential health risks, are common in various environments and drinking water systems. Activated carbon filtration and ion-exchange systems are effective treatments against PFAS.

Learn More: Water Pollution: Bad for Humans and Animals Alike

Surprising Sources of Water Contamination in Your Home

Microbiological Contaminants

Microbiological testing identifies waterborne pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites. These microorganisms, often coming from septic systems or agricultural runoff, are responsible for illnesses like cholera and typhoid fever.

Heavy Metals in Water

Heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and arsenic can leach into drinking water from natural sources or corroded pipes. Lead contamination, for instance, poses serious health risks and can enter the water supply through plumbing systems.

Chemical Pollutants

Chemical pollutants, including nitrates, pesticides, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), can infiltrate water from many sources.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, nitrates, often found in fertilizers and industrial waste, easily impact blood oxygen levels.

Pesticides and herbicides from agricultural activities can contaminate groundwater or surface water, reaching home water supplies.

Combating Water Contamination

Homeowners should consider a blend of water treatment solutions, such as reverse osmosis, ultra-filtration, distillation, ion exchange, and activated carbon filters.

Rayne Water has been the one-stop shop for residential & commercial water treatment customers for nearly a century.

Exploring Environmental Factors Affecting Water Quality

Geological and Environmental Settings

The quality of our drinking water is heavily influenced by the geological and environmental context of the water sources.

Areas with non-carbonate bedrock and thin soils tend to have lower concentrations of dissolved substances in water due to high runoff.

Regions with thick glacial deposits or loess have higher mineral concentrations due to prolonged water interaction with soil and rock.

Impact of Land Cover and Soil Types

The EPA reports that fertilizer runoff in agricultural areas can increase nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus in water bodies, leading to eutrophication.

This process can cause dense plant growth and deplete oxygen levels in water, harming aquatic life.

Human Activities and Contamination

Human activities, including industrial and agricultural operations, introduce various contaminants into water systems.

Point sources, like industrial discharges, are more straightforward to monitor and control compared to diffuse sources such as agricultural runoff or stormwater.

Approaches to Sustainable Water Quality

Addressing these factors requires a comprehensive approach. Implementing better land use practices, controlling agricultural runoff, and using effective water treatment methods are key.

Regular monitoring of water quality and informed decision-making are essential to protect and enhance our water resources.

You Might Like: The EPA Water Quality Standards

Examining the Role of Manufacturing in Water Contamination

Industrial Contribution to Water Pollution

Manufacturing processes release a significant amount of pollutants into water bodies. These include heavy metals, chemicals, and various by-products, each contributing to the overall contamination of water resources.

Heavy Metals in Industrial Pollution

As per Frontiers, lead and mercury are prominent heavy metals in industrial pollution. Found in numerous industrial products, lead is known for its bioaccumulation in organic tissues, leading to severe health issues.

Mercury, utilized in a range of industries, can transform into Methylmercury in water bodies, presenting threats to both environmental and human health.

Petrochemicals and Oil Contamination

Industries also discharge petrochemicals used in energy generation, plastics, and electronics manufacturing.

Mismanagement in storage and disposal can significantly pollute the environment. Oil spills from industrial activities create surface layers on water, disrupting ecological processes and harming marine life.

Mitigating Industrial Water Pollution

To reduce pollution, industries must effectively manage and treat waste. Adopting waste minimization techniques and cleaner production practices are essential.

Regulatory measures play a role in controlling industrial discharges and encouraging environmentally responsible practices.

Improve Your Water Quality with Rayne Water

Rayne Water has been dedicated to improving water quality since 1928, providing high-quality water treatment systems for homes, businesses, and industries. Trust us to provide you with the gift of life: pure, healthy water. Contact your local Rayne Water office today.

FAQs

What are the most common contaminants found in drinking water?

Common contaminants in drinking water include biological pollutants like bacteria and viruses, heavy metals such as lead and mercury, chemicals like nitrates and pesticides, and industrial by-products including petrochemicals and solvents.

How does industrial activity contribute to water contamination?

Industrial activities contribute significantly to water contamination through the release of various pollutants. These include heavy metals like lead and mercury, oils, petrochemicals, and other toxic substances. These contaminants can enter water bodies through direct discharge, leaching into groundwater, or as runoff from contaminated land.

What are the health risks associated with drinking contaminated water?

Drinking contaminated water can lead to a range of health issues. Exposure to lead and mercury can cause neurological and developmental problems, especially in children. Biological contaminants can lead to waterborne diseases like cholera and typhoid fever. Chemicals and industrial pollutants can increase the risk of cancers, liver and kidney damage, reproductive issues, and other chronic health conditions.

How can individuals protect themselves from drinking water contamination?

To protect against water contamination, individuals can use water filters that are certified to remove specific contaminants. Regularly testing well water, particularly in areas prone to agricultural or industrial pollution, is also crucial.

What actions can industries take to minimize their impact on water quality?

Industries can adopt cleaner production methods, which involve conserving raw materials, reducing waste and emissions, and eliminating the use of toxic materials. Implementing effective waste management and treatment processes, ensuring proper storage of hazardous materials, and complying with environmental regulations are also critical steps.