I never imagined I would be writing an article detailing the reasons to give up bottled water! I came across this information on a site I read regularly and thought I would share it with you. All of us at AWS are great advocates for drinking plenty of water and I think most of us, and the readers too, will say that bottled is best. Here, therefore, is a different perspective. Please read these reasons to give up bottled water and you’ll be in a position of knowing both sides of the argument and you can make up your own mind.
1. The Source May Not Be Pure
Ok, first let me say, I am passing this information on and cannot verify the truthfulness of the first statement – but we know that in all areas of commerce there are unscrupulous operators, so there’s no reason to not assume there are companies out there selling something that isn’t what it claims to be. One of the most compelling reasons to give up bottled water is that some bottled water may simply be tap water. It is estimated that 25% of bottled water is, in fact, just tap water. Some companies may process tap water by radiating it or filtering it, but it is still tap water being sold to you as pure water at about 10,000 times the cost of the equivalent measure of tap water. This brings us to the question of the purity of bottled water. Even if it comes from a natural resource like a spring or mountain stream, bottled water may contain (according to studies from rd.com) nasties like benzene, arsenic, phthalates, methane derivatives, mold and various microbes, such as e-coli. Thanks to a recent change, there are regulations for e-coli in bottled water. All this might leave you in a quandary about whether you drink tap or bottled. If you choose bottled, check the sources your chosen brand uses. If you’re not sure about the quality of your tap water, you can learn about your municipal supply at foodandwaterwatch.org, which also provides some info about the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974.
2. Plastics and Sustainability
If you are concerned about your carbon footprint, that plastic bottle is not going to reduce it. The manufacture of plastics is very demanding on fossil fuel and the growth of popularity of bottled water all over the world in the last two decades (the thought of buying a bottle of water in the UK 25-20 years ago was laughable!) has increased the strain. Bottles are not degradable and we are certainly not recycling them all. Those that aren’t recycled are tossed into landfills where they can release toxins into the soil and watershed for the next thousand years.
The last point highlighted the problems plastic bottles cause for the environment, so are there any reasons to stop drinking bottled water because the plastic bottles are also harmful to humans? Yes! Reputable bottlers of water are quite rapidly switching to plastics that are free of BPA, but there are still BPA bottles out there. Even bottles that are BPA free contain other chemicals that become toxic when they are exposed to heat or are kept for a long time. The FDA currently monitors the toxicity of BPA content in food and beverages but not other chemicals, some of which are known to disrupt endocrine functionality (check this out: mindbodygreen.com).
4. Go Local
If you’re looking for reasons to give up bottled water related to sustainability and the environment, how about keeping it local? I find it quite an interesting argument that if you are eating local food, you should drink local water. The food is grown with local water, you cook with local water (unless you are some crazy person that uses bottled water for cooking!), so why not drink local water? If you are supporting local and organic farms, the next logical step is to embrace your local water supply as your main source of hydration.
Ok, so this is the most obvious of all the reasons to stop drinking bottled water. How many other things do we go out and buy when we have already got a supply on it on hand (or on tap!). Why do we do it for water? I’d really like to know who started it all, because really, is it any healthier (see all previous points!) than tap water? Even if none of the previous arguments hold any sway, no one can disagree that bottled water is an expense, and potentially a luxury, if you have a very tight budget. You may say that you can buy bottled water for a few cents, but given everything I’ve told you about the quality and purity of some sources, if you are buying a cheap brand, is it even “natural” water? And, if you are drinking the recommended 8 glasses a day, it is going to cost a pretty penny each week. Do you know how much you spend on bottled water annually? How much do you pay for your municipal water supply? With bottled water you are quenching your thirst and staying hydrated. With tap water, you are cooking, cleaning, washing et al – so what’s the real comparable cost of your bottled water?
The most obvious alternative is filling your own water bottle from the tap. And why not? I have started putting bottles of water in the freezer overnight and drinking them through the day as they thaw – it’s always cold! If you are concerned about a plastic bottle, buy a BPA free or stainless steel bottle. If you would feel better knowing you had filtered your water, jug filters are inexpensive and one cartridge lasts a good long time. You can also use your filtered water in your kettle – you’ll be surprised how clear your tea is and how much better tea and coffee taste when they are made with filtered water. If you want to go the whole hog, you can even have an in-tap filtration system fitted.
7. Join the Celebs
There are a number of high profile celebrities who have eschewed the bottle of water that for most celebrities seems to have become a ubiquitous “accessory.” People who are known to have gone back to the tap, or indeed have never left it, include Cindy Crawford, Oprah Winfrey, Gisele Bundchen and Kelly Osbourne. Then of course there is the UNICEF Celebrity Tap Water Project (unicefusa.org), where you can drink water bottled directly from a celeb’s faucet and donate money to a great cause at the same time.
I think these reasons to give up bottled water show that if you care about what you put in your body, are concerned about the environment and want to save money, going back to the tap is perhaps the right decision. You should now be in a position to decide for yourself. Tap or bottle?