I will confess: I used to be a bottled water drinker. I was never a complete addict. I didn’t buy flats of water and keep them in my garage. But I preferred bottled water. I thought it had some quality that made it taste better than tap (probably the chemicals leaching out of the plastic bottles).
The more I learn about the bottled water industry, the more I become convinced that it is a) one of the more egregious examples of wanton, conspicuous consumption of our natural resources for no good reason and b) a gigantic scam.
The bottled water industry generates 10 billion dollars a year (Wikipedia). That’s 10 billion of our dollars that we spend on something a reasonable person should expect to get for free. And consider the resources that go into producing a bottle of water: 16,000,000 barrels of oil used to make the bottles for water sold in the U.S. The ratio of the amount of water used to make the bottles to the amount of bottled water consumed is 2 to 1 (Harper’s). Trucking all those bottles around requires even more burning of fossil fuels. And what are we doing with all those empty plastic bottles? Most likely we are throwing them away rather than recycling them.
But if all that is not enough to make you think twice about drinking bottled water, consider this: The two most popular brands, Aquafina (Pepsi) and Dasani (Coca-Cola) are simply tap water (USA Today). The water is bottled by a local distributor, so it’s possible you may be paying $2 or more for a bottle of the same water that runs out of your own faucet. We’re being had!
What to do instead of drink bottled water? I have a few suggestions:
- At home, keep a pitcher of tap water in the fridge. Bottled water probably tastes “better” because it is colder.
- Buy a couple of thermoses to carry with you during the day. I got 2 slender stainless steel thermoses that I fill with water and ice in the mornings. They stay cold all day and keep me going through all my activities. I can always refill at the water fountain.
- If you are concerned about the flavor of your tap water, get one of those on-faucet filters. Then you’ll be giving it pretty much the same treatment as the bottlers.
- Ask for tap water when you eat out.
Why do we let these gigantic companies sell us lies and shell out our good money for something we’ve got running out of our taps for just pennies? In the United States, we’re fortunate to have the safest drinking water in the world (MSNBC). It’s time we consumers stopped falling for clever advertising. It’s time we bottled our own water.
Update: I just saw this article on Amazon about the $55 bottle of “bling” water. Perhaps I should just give up now. Sigh.