Monday, September 6, 2010

Why you should stop drinking bottled water.

Difficulty: 2/5

Bottled water is healthy water -- or so marketers would have us believe. Just look at the bottled water labels or ads: deep, pristine polls of spring water, majestic alpine peaks... In reality, bottled water is just water; however, that fact isn't stopping people from buying a lot of it. Here are some solid reasons to kick the bottled water habit.

In the U.S., bottled water costs between $0.25 and $2 per bottle while tap water costs less than $0.01.

Many people drink bottled water because they don't like the taste of their local tap water or because they question its safety. Only the affluent can afford to completely switch their water consumption to bottled sources. Once distanced from public systems, these consumers have little incentive to support bond issues and other methods of upgrading municipal water treatment.

Water is being called the "Blue Gold" of the 21st century. Thanks to increasing urbanization and population, shifting climates and industrial pollution, fresh water is coming humanity's most precious resource. Multinational corporations are stepping in to purchase groundwater and distribution rights wherever they can, and the bottled water industry is an important component in their drive to make a commodity what many feel is a basic human right: the access to safe and affordable water.

Some brands of water are sold in 20-ounce bottles and can be purchased from vending machines alongside soft drinks -- and at the same price. Most brands are essentially filtered tap water, bottled close to their distribution point. If you compare with other liquids, bottled water can cost more than gasoline, which has to be pumped out of the soil in the form of crude oil, often sent to refineries across the world and sent back. Therefore, water can be more profitable than gasoline.

There's very little empirical evidence that suggests bottled water is any cleaner or better for you than tap water. In theory, bottled water in the U.S. falls under the regulatory authority of the FDA. In practice, about 70% of bottled water never crosses start lines for sale, making it exempt from FDA oversight. On the other hand, water systems in the developed world are well-regulated. In the U.S., for instance, is regularly inspected for bacteria and toxic chemicals.

An alternative to bottled water is simply buying a stainless steel thermos and use it. You can buy inexpensive carbon filters that will turn most tap water sparkling fresh and at a fraction of the bottled water's cost.


  1. I have to agree with you. Bottled water is some serious BS.

  2. Same sildude....I don't believe in buying water when i can just purify it in a filter...

  3. I just learned something new today... thanks!

  4. Call me lazy, but I don't think I'll ever give up bottled water.

  5. Bottled water doesn't need to follow as many regulations as water treatment plants do. In essence, you are paying for infinitely more for a lesser treated product.

    Example, water from my city costs $0.00094 per gallon. Buying a 24pk of 500ml water bottles @ $4 comes out to $1.27/gal. That's over 1300x more expensive!

  6. I buy spring water in bulk, usually. It only costs like 40 cents a gallon or so, and worth it to avoid tap water. It might be better overall to get another filter, but I question those just as much, so I'm content for now.

  7. Yeah but bottled water taste better than tap water. It's hard to explain, but it taste fresher.