It’s probably been the marketing success of the last ten years – bottled water. I don’t even remember the last time I saw an advertisement on TV or even on a billboard for it, yet we still spend millions of pounds, dollars and euros on it.
But what’s wrong with tap water? In the main – the UK and North America at least – nothing. And outside those areas or if you don’t like the taste, there are ways to change it rather than buy bottled water. Here are the reasons why you should drink tap water:
• Plastic bottles use a huge amount of energy to make. They can be recycled, but again energy is needed to do so. When they’re not recycled they go straight into landfill. In the US, 84% plastic water bottles they use each year are thrown away. To make those plastic bottles it takes of the 47 million gallons of oil.
• Buy a water filter in your home. It’s less expensive and far less environmentally damaging than bottled water. But they are difficult to recycle, so if you can do without then that’s better.
• The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says 90% of its drinking water is safe. It’s estimated 900,000 people a year get sick from water and 900 people die each year. That’s from both drinking bottled and public water.
• Bottled water can cost up to 10,000 times as much as when you get it from the tap.
• In the US, a study found out that a quarter of bottled water was just tap water with or without extra filtration.
• Some bottled water comes from abroad as well – think of the energy used in transporting it.
• Bottled water companies are sometimes taking water from places that need it, like Pakistan. Check out ResponsibleShopper.org for more information.
• Bottle water costs around 5 cents an ounce. Doesn’t sound much? Gasoline costs just over two cents an ounce.
• Plastic waste is now at such a volume that vast eddies of current-bound plastic trash now spin endlessly in the world’s major oceans. This represents a great risk to marine life, killing birds and fish which mistake our garbage for food.
• Drinking bottled water means less attention is paid to public water systems. If people didn’t buy bottled water and complained about their tap water, work would be done to improve the taste and quality. And stop leaks.
• People will often buy bottled water when out and about and don’t want one of the many fizzy, sugar-filled drinks on offer. But you can still make a choice as brands such as One and Belu use their profits to pay for clean water schemes in the developing world.
And a final thought, if your friends don’t like the taste of tap water, give them a blind taste test. E magazine reports: “When Good Morning America conducted a taste test of its studio audience, New York City tap water was chosen as the heavy favourite over the oxygenated water O2, Poland Spring and Evian.”