I recently wrote an article about why you shouldn’t re-use water bottles. Since it was so popular, I figured I’d take it a step further. Thus, this article focusing on why you shouldn’t buy bottled water at all.
Though you might be somewhat familiar with this topic, I bet you’ll be interested in reading about the latest reasons and research stating why you should skip buying bottled water when you go to the supermarket. Read on, and once you’ve finished, please let me know if you have the same attitude towards bottled water as you do now.
1. Bottled water costs you more in the long run.
We all know why we buy bottled water. It’s more convenient to grab one and go, than it is to clean and maintain a re-usable bottle, or to grab a cup and fill it up using a filter-based pitcher.
While using bottled water will save you time in the short run, it will also drain your hard-earned cash in the long run. Indeed, recent studies have shown that bottled water costs around $7.50 per gallon, which is about two thousand times as costly as the water that comes from your faucet.
Despite that fact, we continue allowing ourselves to be bamboozled by beverage companies. From 2011 to 2012, we’ve increased our combined spending on bottled water by 6.5%, making it quite a profitable industry indeed.
2. Bottled water pollutes the environment.
According to National Geographic, folks purchase around half a billion bottles of water per week – in the United States alone.
Despite the fact that we have a much more developed municipal water infrastructure, Americans consume three times as much bottled water as Italy (the biggest water bottle market in Europe).
Unfortunately, few of those bottles are recycled, with most ending up piled high in landfills, floating around in stagnant rivers, or lodging themselves in various underwater environments.
If we really want to help mother nature, we’ve got to stop buying bottled water and look to our taps instead.
3. Bottled water isn’t any cleaner than tap water.
Despite commercials from Arrowhead and Fiji that would have you believe otherwise, bottled water isn’t any more “pure” than the stuff that comes from your tap.
The reasons for this vary, but one of the major ones is that the FDA (which regulates bottled water) is nowhere near as powerful as the EPA, which regulates our tap water.
A 1999 study brings this difference to light. They tested over 1,000 bottles of water, sourced from 103 completely different brands. While the water was safe to drink for the most part, they found that at least some samples they tested contained contaminants that exceeded state standards. These contaminants ranged from those of the bacterial variety, to carcinogens and various kinds of toxic chemicals — all of which would normally not be permitted under normal EPA standards.
If you’re thinking, “Well, that study was done in 1999 so it’s probably out of date,” you’d unfortunately be incorrect. Since that time, the regulations that guide the bottled water industry have not changed.
The bottom line? Your tap water is more than likely just as pure (if not more pure) than any of the bottled water you can purchase in the market. Filtering it yourself only makes it that much better.
4. Bottled water companies aren’t being honest with you.
If a company isn’t telling you the truth, do you feel inclined to give them your hard-earned money? I would bet your answer is no.
Many bottled water brands advertise their product as being sourced from natural springs or other theoretically pure sources. The truth is; however, that up to 45% of bottled water is sourced from the exact same places that your tap water comes from. These corporations try to hide that fact in order to drive sales.
Brands like Aquafina and Dasani are the worst offenders when it comes to using municipal water sources. This is the same exact stuff you can get from your faucet.
Even worse than their use of municipal sources is the fact that bottled water companies get the majority of their water from the drought-stricken state of California. Which is disturbing, since bottling plants require 1.63 liters of water for every 1 liter placed in an actual bottle. In other words, creating one bottle of water wastes nearly two bottles of water in the process. Not very sustainable.
Therefore, if you are buying bottled water, it’s likely that it comes from a municipal source. Probably one that exists in California. That’s reason enough in my book to stay away. (Being from California, I literally haven’t seen more than a couple drops of rain in the past five years.)
5. Buying bottled water sets a bad example.
Consider for a moment that we live in a world where ~750 million people have little to no access to clean drinking water. What would they think of us if they knew we wasted a precious resource like water by placing it into bottles, when we could just as easily get it from our faucets and refrigerators? We forget the absolute luxury of running water.
Given everything else stated in this article, it would seem ludicrous to them that we’ve managed to perpetuate such a strange and backwards industry.
Finally, I’ll end with this: the human race spends collectively around $100 billion dollars a year on bottled water. The United Nations estimates that just 1/6th of that amount of money would be enough to “cut in half the number of people without access to clean water.”
So let’s be thankful for our taps! Instead of spending our money on the bottled stuff, let’s send it to those who really need it.
Where to go from here…
As I stated in one of my previous articles, your best best is to buy a nice re-usable water bottle, and re-fill it with tap water (or filtered tap water, whichever is your preference). You now know that your tap water is just as clean (if not cleaner) than the H2O in your favorite bottled brand. Additionally, you know that it will cost you a lot less in the long run to use your tap as opposed to purchasing pre-packaged water. With that in mind, you really have nothing to lose!
Rewinding back to the question I asked in the introduction: what is your opinion of bottled water now? Will you still buy it on a regular basis? Sound off in the comments section below.
Featured photo credit: sparkling water/susanne nilsson via flic.kr