By John Davis
It’s a fact that bottled water has become a part of everyday life. Pretty much anywhere you go, you will find bottles of water available for purchase: the grocery store, gas stations, restaurants, even the spa will offer you a bottle of water when you visit.
But is bottled water really the best choice for everyday drinking water? Or would your family be better off filtering the tap water you already have?
Fact: Bottled water is many times more expensive than tap water
According to this report on Business Insider, the bottled water industry sold 9.7 million gallons of bottled water in 2012 and grossed $11.8 billion. That equates to approximately $1.22 per gallon or 300 times the cost of tap water. Other reports indicate the price of bottled water as high as 1,000 to 10,000 times that of tap water.
Regardless, at $1.22 per gallon, a family that consumes 3 gallons of water per day would still be paying $1,335 annually. Compare that to tap water — at a tenth of a cent per gallon filtered through a $200 filtration system — and the same 3 gallons of purified water would cost you less than $220 annually.
Fact: The last thing our planet needs is more plastic
The United States alone consumes billions of bottles of water each year, and more than 70 percent of those bottles end up in our landfills. Couple this volume with the fact that plastic bottles take nearly 1,000 years to degrade, and we have a real mess on our hands.
Just for fun, let’s do a little math. Let’s say that this year, and for the next 10 years, we only drink 1 billion bottles of water and miraculously we start recycling 40 percent of those bottles. That’s still 6 billion bottles in the trash that will sit for the next 990 years. You could wrap 6 billion water bottles around the earth over nine times. We must begin thinking about future generations and changing our actions accordingly. It’s time to become part of the solution.
According to the Mayo Clinic, tap water and bottled water are basically the same in terms of safety. But if you have concerns about your tap or well water, filtering it with a reverse osmosis system can be a great place to start. Not only will you be doing your part, but you’ll be using the same technology many major bottlers use to purify the tap water they are selling for 1,000 times the cost.
Fact: Plastic isn’t the best way to store water
This article in Prevention discusses an experiment by German scientists who found over 24,000 potentially harmful chemicals in one bottle of water. Scary! They go on to say the safest bet for storing water is a non-toxic glass or stainless steel container.
The bottle line on bottles
While the possible negative health effects of bottled water may be minimal, the waste of resources and money is significant. Your tap water is far cheaper and generally plenty safe. However, if you want to add an extra layer of protection and enjoy top quality water, a reverse osmosis water system will do the trick.
Image credit: Flickr/Shigemi.J
John Davis is the founder of YourWaterFilterGuide.com.