5 Facts Bottled Water Corporations Don’t Want You to Know
Everywhere you go, you see bottled water for sale. It’s certainly convenient. But is it really “better”? Here are five facts that say No, bottled water is not the better choice.
5: There is no difference between tap water and most bottled water brands.
Scientific studies conducted on both the taste and safety of bottled water consistently show that not only is bottled water no safer than tap water in the U.S., but it tastes only as good as or worse than its publicly sourced counterpart.
Now you might be wondering, “if that’s true, why does bottled water sell so well?” I was hoping you’d ask. The reason is marketing. Corporations spend millions on marketing campaigns to make you believe that their “purified” product is better than tap water. Here’s the really mind-blowing part: almost half of all bottled water is derived from tap water. That’s right. Big corporations spend big bucks convincing you not to take advantage of a safe and inexpensive resource so they can sell you the exact same thing at a much higher price. Don’t fall victim to their advertising.
4: Bottled water costs 240 to almost 1,000 times more per gallon than tap water.
When you buy bottled water, you’re paying a huge markup. In 2009, a study found that one thousand gallons of tap water cost $1.60, or about one tenth of a cent per gallon. In contrast, the average cost for one gallon of bottled water was $0.90. This means that consumers who chose to buy bottled water spent 900% more than they spend on what comes out of their faucet, even though it might be the exact same thing.
Keep in mind that the $0.90 number is only an average. Think of the premium people pay for “designer” water that costs more for smaller, albeit cooler-shaped, bottles.
3: Bottled water negatively affects the environment.
One of the marketing messages about bottled water is that it is a healthy, natural alternative to other drinks. But there is nothing healthy about the bottle. 17 million barrels of oil fuel the bottled water industry, which is enough to run one million cars for a whole year. Oil isn’t the only resource being guzzled by bottled water; bottling water actually wastes water. It takes about three times the amount of water in one bottle to produce and fill that bottle. Good thing tap water is so cheap, or bottled water could be even more expensive.
The plastic bottles pose another problem. Only about 12% of bottles purchased in the U.S. are recycled. This leads to billions of pounds of oil-based plastic sitting in landfills for thousands of years. Any of the 35 billion plastic bottles thrown away in the U.S. every year that don’t end up in a landfill make their way to the ocean, where they cause even bigger problems for the environment, economy, and even human health. If your bottle is one of the 12% that actually gets recycled, it can only be used for non-food products. Even in the best-case scenario, tap water is more environmentally responsible than bottled water.
More than just the industry’s bottles affect the environment. Water is shipped all around the world, producing literally tons of greenhouse gases. In the United States, we are privileged to have clean water and don’t need to rely on bottled water. Yet, for some reason, we import bottled water. In 2006, New York alone produced 3,800 tonsof greenhouse gases just to transport bottled water from Western Europe. In the same year, California contributed 2,500 tons of greenhouse gases importing water from Fiji.
2: Bottled water has lower safety standards than tap water.
In the U.S., bottled water is loosely regulated by the FDA, but tap water is strictly regulated by the EPA. Municipalities are required to produce quality reports on their tap water and must test for contaminants such as e. coli multiple times each day. If the EPA’s standards aren’t met, the low-quality tap water cannot be distributed. Bottled water can fall far short of these standards and still be sold because it’s much more loosely regulated. In fact, between 60% to 70% of bottled water isn’t regulated by the federal government at all because it’s bottled and sold in the same state.
A comprehensive study on bottled water found that:
-About one-third of the tested bottled water was found to be significantly contaminated in at least one test.
-Almost one in four bottles, or 22%, violated strict applicable state limits for bottled water.
-Of the tested water bottles, nearly one in five showed more bacteria than allowed under microbiological-purity guidelines.
-Nearly one fifth of the waters contained synthetic organic chemicals or chemicals used in manufacturing plastic.
It’s ironic that water bottling companies market their product as safer than tap water when their product can’t meet tap water’s safety standards.
1: There are many bottled-water alternatives!
The #1 thing that bottled-water corporations don’t want you to know is that bottled water is unnecessary for most U.S. residents. Simply purchasing a reusable water bottle and filling it at the tap cuts out the need for the disposable plastic variety. Reusable bottles are just as portable and sometimes offer features to make them even more convenient. For example, some of them can keep your water cooler for longer, while saving you money and having a significantly less negative impact on the environment. If you still prefer filtered water, you can purchase your own filters or water purifiers to fill your water bottles with. Some reusable bottles even come with built-in water filters, taking out all the work for you. Overall, disposable plastic water bottles are easily replaceable. Our planet and the money in your wallet are not.
Bonus Reason: Water scarcity is a real and dangerous issue.
Learn more about it on our website here.
Bottled water is an expensive product with no purpose. Whether you’re looking to save money or the environment, cutting out bottled water is an easy first step. Just think about all the negative impacts of bottled water. Why waste your money?