within the 48 Contiguous United States
Most of us reach for water that has been bottled in plastic containers without even thinking about it. There’s no doubt that it is a convenient choice. However, it isn’t necessarily the best choice. Drinking bottled water places a drain on the environment and may even be bad for our health.
According to a statistic published by the International Bottled Water Association, bottled water consumption in the United States climbed to 29.2 gallons per capita in 20ll, a 3.2% increase from the previous year. While this statistic is a positive one for the bottled water industry, this may not be the best news from a health and environmental standpoint.
Since bottled water is such a big business, manufacturers may stretch the truth a bit in their marketing. As a result, there is no real way to know if what you’re drinking is actually tap water of if it really is “special”. Granted, some manufacturers do live up to their claims. It is, however, very expensive. A better strategy is to get to know your tap water and use filtration to bring it up to your standards. You’ll save a lot of money in the long run.
Plastic, disposable water bottles are bad for the environment because they aren’t sustainable. Sure, most recycling centers accept plastic bottles. However, a smaller percentage of these than we realize is actually reused. Not only that, but a lot of people don’t even bother to recycle. It is estimated that three out of four water bottles end up in landfills. Once there, they take around fifty years or more to decompose.
Did you know that our municipal water supplies are subject to strict regulations and safety standards? The same is not true for bottled water. Though bottled water is regulated, the standards are different. For example, up until recently, bottled water wasn’t even tested for the presence of e. coli bacteria. Though safety standards are improving, testing for tap water is more advanced. It is much safer and healthier to use filtration in the home than it is to drink bottled water. Once tap water reaches your home, it has already undergone extensive filtration and testing. Anything extra you do makes your water even better.
However, it is still a popular choice because of the convenience factor. Instead of purchasing all those disposable water bottles, it is much better to use a safe, reusable bottle with your filtrated tap water. You can also use ethical water bottling coolers which use high quality spring water and reusable bottles. You can also purchase a water cooler and fill it with your own filtered tap water.
As you can see, drinking bottled water can be harmful for your health and for the environment. However, you do have plenty of safe alternatives.