“Therefore, while much tap water is indeed risky, having compared available data, we conclude that there is no assurance that bottled water is any safer than tap water.” — The Natural Resources Defense Council
Should we be able to cause substantial environmental damage just for the sake of convenience? Consumers purchasing bottled water and their manufacturers certainly think so. Bottled water can cause harm to your health and to our environment, are costly and are a huge strain on our water and energy sources.
Even with the encouraged efforts and attempts to recycle 38 billion (about 80%) water bottles are ending up in our landfills every year. This would, however, not be as terrible if the bottles decomposed but they don’t. Once the bottled water reaches these landfills, they could take 700 years to even begin to decompose. Ten percent of plastic makes its way into our oceans from being trashed by humans or carried by wind and rain. When this plastic is exposed to sunlight, the plastic elements are broken down and toxic chemicals are released, including BPA. These chemicals are then ingested by ocean animals, which are then ingested by humans.
These bottles, however, are not only damaging our environment but also our economy. Would you be willing to pay money every time you filled your water from the faucet? You may already be paying high prices for simple tap water. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, around 25% or more of bottled water is the same type of water you already have coming from your faucet. Tap water for all intensive purposes is almost free, meaning that when we purchase bottled water, we are paying around 500 times what it is worth. Does that make any sense to be overpaying by that much, when we could turn on the tap for free? US consumers spend around $11 billion on bottled water, that is $11 billion we are overpaying by simply making the decision to stop buying bottled water.
Bottled water manufacturers try to present their products as an ‘eco-friendly and healthy choice’. Bottled water alone uses 17 million barrels of oil every year; this could fuel 1 million cars for a year. The Environmental Research Letters journal estimated that 32 to 54 million barrels of oil are required to meet the demand of bottled water consumed in the US.
All of this damaging harm to our environment and economy could be halted with a choice. A choice to stop purchasing and consuming bottled water.