bottled water

Bottled Water Blues: 3 Reasons You Should Drink Tap Instead

Is drinking bottled water costly and unnecessary? Here are three reasons switching to tap water is safer for you, your wallet, and the environment.

There is certainly no denying the allure of cold H2O when you’re on the go and thirsty, thanks to appealing depiction of elegant bubbling springs on nearly every plastic water bottle.

Thirsty as we Americans are, however, bottled water is not quite as innocent as it tastes. Here’s why tap water might be a better idea.

Reason 1: Bottled water is no more pure than tap water. 

According to FoodandWaterWatch.org, it is a little known fact that tap water is subject to more stringent regulation than bottled water is.

Tap water is tested by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as often as hourly, weekly, or monthly depending on the water system, the CDC states. Each system gives an annual report. Bottled water, on the other hand, is handled by the FDA, which inspects bottling plants every two to three years.

More facts, courtesy of FoodWaterWatch:

  • Almost 50% of all bottled water came from municipal tap water supplies.

  • Only nine companies provide the public with the same level of information available for tap water. (Where the water came from, how it was treated, etc).

  • Testing of bottled water conducted by the Environmental Working Group found that 10 popular brands of bottled water contained 38 chemical pollutants, with an average of eight contaminants in each brand.

Reason 2: Bottled water is 2000 times more expensive than tap water.

According to a recent statistics by ConvergEx Group Chief Market Strategist Nick Colas, as highlighted by Business Insider, bottled water is at an average cost of $1.22 per gallon, meaning consumers are spending 300 times the price of tap water for bottled water.[contextly_auto_sidebar]

But even that may be short of the truth, Colas states: if we take into account that two thirds of bottled water sales are of 16 oz bottles, prices are pushed up to $7.50 per gallon, and the amount increases to 2000 times more than the cost of tap water — that’s much higher than the cost of a gallon of gasoline.

Colas’ statistics also show that Americans spent $11.8 million on bottled water annually, which has tripled per capita since 1991, and that America is the largest bottled water consuming country in the world.

Americans collectively drink about 61 billion gallons of bottled water per year. Thirsty? Perhaps.

Reason 3: Bottled water is bad for the environment.

Bottled water is also quite wasteful. Bottles used to package water take over 1,000 years to biodegrade, and can be toxic if incinerated, the Water Project asserts via ValleyWater.org. In addition, 80% of water bottles eventually become “litter.”

bottled water

Excessive withdrawal of spring water threatens local streams and groundwater, according to WorldWatch.org.  As for pollution, U.S. landfills are overflowing with over 2 million tons of water bottles alone.

Lastly (though this could go on), it takes 1.5 million barrels of oil to meet the demands of U.S. water bottle manufacturing. The more water bottles are manufactured, the more oil is used, the more the Earth’s resources are strained on something that we can get easily from the sink.

Alternatives? Buy a metal water bottle, fill it yourself, and – that’s about it, actually. Easy, right?

Updated. Cover photos courtesy of Steven Depolo via Flickr, modified by Curiousmatic.

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Jennifer Markert