Since its rise in popularity in the late 1970s, single use bottled water has earned itself quite a reputation. It’s been viewed as a luxury item, thanks to the Perrier commercials that brought it to the masses in 1977 and the transformation of brands like Evian into celebrity accessories.
Besides luxury, single use bottled water has also been touted as a beacon of health. Companies speak of their high-tech filtration systems to remove impurities and bombarded consumers with images of tropical oases or mountain springs to evoke refreshing, pure associations with their brand. Plus, as we all know, staying hydrated is important to your overall health.
Here’s the truth:
It’s likely that the bottled water you pay a premium for is just tap water that’s gone through purification. Yup, a 2009 study found that almost half of bottled water is originally from your city’s municipal water supply; it’s categorized as “purified” by the bottled water industry because after it’s collected from the municipal water source, it’s put through a filtration process.
So, unless your bottled water brand of choice specifically says it’s spring water or mineral water, it’s not all that different from your regular tap water.
Raising awareness of the source of your bottled water
Bottled water companies aren’t required to disclose the source of their water, how it was treated, or what contaminants it contains. Not many consumers realize the true source of their bottled water, but corporate accountability groups are trying to change that fact.
One major success came in 2007, when Aquafina added a disclaimer to their label saying that its water supply comes from a “public water source.” While Aquafina stands behind their 7-step purification system, the fact remains that the bottled water industry faces less frequent testing. Plus, since bottled water is categorized as a food and thus regulated by the FDA, bottled water companies aren’t required to undergo certified lab testing or violation reporting.
Meanwhile, the EPA regulates tap water and is way stricter than the FDA. The Safe Drinking Water Act allows the EPA to require water testing by certified laboratories, reports to customers about their public water systems, and a specified time frame to report violations.
Don’t forget about the environment
As we’ve talked about in previous blog posts, producing single-use disposable water bottles takes a huge toll on the environment. In fact, it takes three times the amount of water to make a disposable water bottle than it does to fill one bottle of water. And, even though most bottled water is recyclable, it’s estimated that four out of five single-use plastic water bottles become litter.
Moral of the story? Single use bottled water can cost up to two thousand times as much as tap water — and, nearly half the time, it actually is just glorified tap water. Why spend your money on this when you could buy a BPA-free reusable water bottle and fill it up with tap water that’s just as healthy? Not to mention, a reusable water bottle is way cheaper, since once you fill up your water bottle a few times it’s basically paid for itself.
…Yeah, that’s what we think too. Here, we even pulled a few reusable water bottles for you to choose from.