It seems that no matter how hard municipalities work, people still spend tons of money on bottled water. The cost of bottled water is anywhere from 750- 2700 times more expensive than tap water, but chemically, it is no different than what usually comes from your faucet. In addition to bottled water being significantly more expensive than tap water, the toll it takes on the environment is terrible! The Pacific Institute, an environmental research non-profit organization, estimates that it takes about 3 liters of water to produce one liter of bottled water. The process of bottling water is estimated to use more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide without factoring in transportation, refrigeration, or recycling.
Because the bottled water industry is held by private companies, they can throw millions of dollars at marketing and advertising. By doing this, these companies make the public believe bottled water is of higher quality than tap water. The truth is, drinking bottled water won’t make anyone any better than if they drink water. Sadly, municipalities and local governments can’t compete with the advertising from private companies.
Regardless of the cost of bottled water to the consumer and to the environment, bottled water is not necessarily cleaner or safer to drink. The Safe Water Drinking Act (SWDA) requires the EPA to regulate public water. The EPA requires regular testing by certified laboratories and if there are violations of the SWDA, they must be disclosed to the public immediately. The FDA regulates the bottled water industry and around 60-70% of bottled water is exempt from the FDA’s set standards. There are also no federal requirements for the disinfection of bottled water.
Knowing this, it seems that drinking tap water is a clear choice, however many people still buy bottled water. If you are concerned about the quality of your water, find a filtration system that works for your water and your home. You’ll still be saving hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars each year and you’ll be helping to protect the environment.