Posted by in Green Living
The bottled water industry is a huge business! Estimates place worldwide bottled water sales at between $50 and $100 billion each year with Americans spending about $20 billion.
Twenty percent of Americans drink only bottled water because we believe that our tap water is unfit to drink or because it tastes funny. I was one of those people.
All of that bottled water consumption takes a toll on the environment. Bottled water produces up to 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year. According to Food and Water Watch, that plastic requires up to 47 million gallons of oil per year to produce. And while the plastic used to bottle beverages is of high quality and in demand by recyclers, over 80 percent of plastic bottles are simply thrown away.
If the above environmental costs don’t make you re-think drinking bottled water, consider the costs to your wallet. Bottled water is over 1,000 times more expensive than tap water. Take, for instance, Pepsi’s Aquafina or Coca-Cola’s Dasani bottled water. Both are sold in 20 ounce sizes and can be purchased from vending machines alongside soft drinks — and at the same price. Assuming you can find a $1 machine, that works out to 5 cents an ounce. These two brands are essentially filtered tap water, bottled close to their distribution point. Most of us pay less than a penny per gallon from the tap. If you calculate that you drink a bottle of water per day and pay $1.00 for it, you spend over $300 a year just on bottled water!
But the water in a bottle of water is more pure and clean than tap water right? Wrong. The truth is that, bottled water is no more pure or clean than regular tap water. In fact, according to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), over 25 percent or more of bottled water is really just tap water in a bottle. However, even if the water in bottled water is not tap water, there have been numerous studies that show that it is not any cleaner or more pure than tap water, despite what the beverage companies would lead you to believe. In one study conducted by the NRDC, 22 percent of the brands they tested contained, in at least one sample, chemical contaminants at levels above strict state health limits.
So, now that we know that bottled water is 1000 times more expensive than tap water and is no better or safer, and can actually be more harmful to us, than tap water, what can we do if we need to take water with us on the go? The answer is to put water into a reusable water bottle. There are plenty of good reusable water bottles out there. I suggest buying one made from stainless steel or aluminum and not plastic, as the plastic ones can leech bad chemicals into your water. I personally use a Sigg and love it.