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The Irony of LEED-certified Bottled Water Facilities

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you know that I’m a fan of the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED rating system.  If you’re new, then trust me, I love LEED.  I’ve been sitting on a press release about a newly certified LEED building for a few days trying to figure out how I wanted to approach the topic.

The building, which received LEED Gold certification, is the first LEED Gold certified food-manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania.  This sounds like great news, right?  Well, the facility manufactures bottled water – plastic bottled water.  I just can’t get over the irony of manufacturing toxin-leeching, landfill-filling plastic bottled water in a LEED certified building.
During the construction of the facility, construction waste was reduced by approximately 75 percent.  This is great, but the product manufactured in this facility may end up sitting in landfills or floating out in the ocean forever.

Although this was the first LEED Gold certified food-manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania, it is not the company’s first LEED certification.

Other LEED certified facilities are located in:

* Madison County, Florida (Silver)
* Red Boiling Springs, Tenn. (Silver)
* Cabazon, Calif. (Silver)
* Hawkins, Texas (Silver)
* Stanwood, Mich. (Certified)

Three more facilities are also undergoing the LEED certification process.

Is producing plastic bottled water in a LEED certified facility better than producing them in a non-LEED certified facility?  I guess if you look at it from the standpoint that they are going to make the bottled water anyhow, it is better.  But the irony of this just screams to me.  Perhaps congratulations are in order? If so, congrats to Nestle Waters North America on another LEED certified facility.

Sources:  blog post,   MNN article

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