At one time, bottled water was almost deemed to be a fad but according to data from Statistic Brain which was gleaned from the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), approximately $11.8 billion is spent on bottled water annually in the United States. This includes the purchase of 30 billion bottles and the U.S makes up almost 20% of global sales!
So why do we have such a love affair with bottled water? A lot of it surely boils down to clever marketing as we are told that bottled water is ‘pure’ and ‘healthy’ but is this all a myth?
Increasingly sophisticated water filtration systems are available as an alternative as they help purify your water. These systems guarantee a constant supply of fresh and clean water and ensure you don’t continually need to purchase the bottled kind at the grocery store. Below, we look at 5 compelling reasons why you should stop buying bottled water and invest in a water filtration system instead.
1 – Cleanliness
Bottled water companies naturally claim that their product is pure, clean and safe but according to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), this is not necessarily true. After a 4 year review of the bottled water industry, the organization said there was no assurance that bottled water is any cleaner or safer than water coming from a tap.
Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for regulating bottled water and does so under the auspices of ‘packaged food’, it is a sad fact that its regulations are significantly more lax than the standards the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has when regulating municipal tap water. You can read more about this at the NRDC website.
One important point to note is that FDA regulations do not apply to water packaged and sold in the same state. This could comprise up to 70% of all bottled water sold in the U.S.
This is borne out by the findings of the NRDC which shows that up to 25% of bottled water is basically tap water (taken directly from a municipal water supply) which may or may not be treated further. When purchasing bottled water, make sure it states the source of its supply on the label; otherwise you could be getting ripped off.
With a water filtration system you know exactly what you’re getting. For example, with a carbon packed filter, you know the water will be cleaned because the particles that pass through become bound to the filter’s molecules thus trapping nasty contaminants. In this instance, you’re getting water that is probably cleaner than its bottled counterpart since some companies don’t bother filtering their supply.
2 – Health
The first issue with bottled water safety is the possibility of contaminants. During its 1999 study, the NRDC discovered that at least two bottled water companies were using phthalates. These chemicals are also found in cosmetics, shower curtains and fragrances…
Remember when I mentioned the difference between FDA and EPA regulations? EPA regulations that demand municipal water supplies must be tested for harmful biological content several times each day. FDA regulations only require bottled water companies to do so on a weekly basis.
A prime example of why this could be a problem was showcased in Milwaukee in 1993 when approximately 400,000 residents were infected by cryptosporidium, a protozoan that is resistant to chlorine. Bottled water companies are not required to test for it!
The second issue is the bottles themselves which could potentially be even more harmful than the water. #1 Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) is the most commonly used resin in disposable bottles and is perfectly safe when used only once. However, these bottles are sometimes reused and may end up leaching DEHA which is known as a possible human carcinogen. Since the plastic containers are porous, it’s likely you will be consuming harmful chemicals with every sip.
Again, none of these problems exist with a water filtration system as you are further filtering water that is already subject to reasonably strict standards.
3 – Taste
Bottled water manufacturers try to brainwash consumers into thinking their product somehow tastes ‘better’ than water you get from the tap. Countless taste tests performed by media outlets all over the country (including the New York Times) have proven the above claim to be completely false as most testers preferred tap water!
For example, a study carried out by Showtime showed that 75% of New York residents chose tap water over bottled water in blind taste tests.
Yet tap water doesn’t taste as pure as it could due to small amounts of naturally occurring contaminants such as sodium, iron and sulfates (which are all approved by the EPA and said to be safe in tiny amounts).
However, when you run the water through a filter system, it should taste notably different since the aforementioned contaminants have been removed. The best filter systems can make water taste as close to ‘natural’ as is possible. Only the most expensive bottled water manufacturers filter their product so thoroughly.
4 – Environmental Impact
Unfortunately, bottled water also adds to our already high level of fossil fuel consumption. Virgin petroleum is used to make PET which is in turn the material of choice for many bottled water manufacturers. It is also a fact that some companies use water sourced thousands of miles away which is shipped to the United States.
Back in 2008, Todd Jarvis of the Oregon State University’s Institute for Water and Watersheds pointed out that approximately 72 billion gallons of water is used annually in the creation of water bottles! Interestingly, the energy used to make these water bottles could fuel 100,000 cars for a full year!
Depressingly, according to the Container Recycling Institute in Washington D.C, around 86% of plastic water bottles in America become litter or garbage. The Columbia Water Center says that recyclable plastic bottles don’t break down naturally and when they eventually decompose, toxic chemicals are released. With degrade time of between 400 and 1,000 years, that’s a lot of chemicals!
Clearly, you’re doing the environmental a favor with your water recycling system. With fewer bottles created, less energy would be wasted and landfills all over America would not be laden with used bottles.
5 – Cost
There is no getting around it, bottled water is expensive! The most pricy brands are estimated to cost 10,000 times more than tap water! In San Francisco, the municipal supply comes from Yosemite National Park and the water is so pure that no filtering is required! You could refill a bottle of brand name water once a day for over 10 years using water from Yosemite and it would cost the same as that one bottle of the brand!
Another startling statistic is that if you used cheap brand bottled water to perform all your household functions, your monthly bill would be around $9,000!
The Mayo Clinic says we should drink around 64 ounces of water a day; for a family of four, that amounts to two gallons. Even relatively ‘cheap’ bottled water can cost $2 a gallon which equates to $4 a day or $1,440 a year.
In contrast, you can find water filtration systems for under $200 although the very best products may cost a little more. However, you will get years of clean, great tasting water. Overall, the savings should amount to several hundred dollars a year.
The entire ‘bottled water is better’ mantra is utterly false. Contrary to the marketing spiel offered up by bottled water companies, their water does not taste better! In some cases, the water is taken straight from a municipal water supply and frankly, you can do a better job of filtering it yourself.
Add in the enormous cost in terms of your household budget and the environment and the fact that bottled water may actually be harmful to your health and it becomes a no-brainer: A water filtration system is superior to bottled water. Check out some H2PURE water filtration and purification solutions here.