An expensive indulgence
Over the last two decades bottled water has become a required accessory whether at the gym, the office or in the classroom. Unfortunately this lifestyle indulgence is proving to be very expensive for our health, the health of the environment, and the health of our finances.
Next time you reach for a single use disposable water bottle consider these points.
Bottled water may not be any better than tap water
Despite bottled water manufacturers making claims that their water is healthier and of higher quality, laboratory tests have shown that this is often not the case. Bottled water can contains higher levels of toxic chemicals than municipal tap water. Municipal water supplies are tested daily to ensure a high level of quality. Water bottling plants aren’t subject to such stringent levels of control.
Blind taste tests also show that tap water performs just as well as bottled water. The final irony is that despite promoting bottled water as a higher quality product superior to tap water many companies have been forced to admit that the water being used is actually only filtered tap water. What you pay for is the packaging and marketing expenses.
Bottled water poses a health risk
BPA (Bisphenol-A), Phthalates and other chemicals in plastics remain an ongoing concern. Studies have shown that these chemicals, especially after prolonged exposure or storage in a warm environment tend to leach into the water.
Even without taking the chemical factors into consideration there are still problems with bacteria growth. Many plastic water bottles are made from #1 PET. Bottles made from PET are meant for single use only. If you are in the habit of refilling these bottles or leaving water in previously opened bottles for extended periods be aware that they are a breeding ground for bacteria and there is an increased risk of leaching.
Bottled water harms the environment
Millions of barrels of oil are required to make plastic water bottles. By design they are used once then discarded. What an extraordinary waste of a non-renewable resource. Most people assume that they get recycled but less than 25% of them actually are.
Most empty water bottles end up in landfills where they could take hundreds of years to decay. Even worse, about 15-20 percent of these bottles find their way into our oceans. Their they either disintegrate into smaller plastic particles that enter the marine food chain or end up littering the oceans.
In addition to the energy used to create the bottles, once filled they need to be transported to retailers for distribution, wasting more energy. Does it make any sense to transport water across vast distances when for most people a safe, reliable water source is already close at hand?
Bottled water is expensive
If concerns over your health or the health of the environment don’t sway you, then consider simply what your bottled water habit is costing you. The price of tap water is negligible and often free. Drinking just one bottle of water per day can cost anywhere from $200 - $400 per year. If you drink the recommended 8 glasses of water daily then your habit will easily run you over $1000 per year.
Alternatives to bottled water
People often cite the convenience of having water closeby whenever needed. You can buy a high quality stainless steel water bottle for under $20, fill it as needed, and save yourself a ton of money. Think what you can do with that extra $1000.