Bottled vs. Filtered Water

Over the past year, the controversy and ongoing debate regarding bottled water has been heating up. With climate crisis fever sweeping the globe everyone is weighing in on how we can start to repair the damage. “Being Green” is very trendy these days and everyone wants to get in on the action. This invigorated interest is a very welcome and necessary factor in effecting long lasting climate change. 

One of the first areas to look at, both at home and at work, is our consumption of bottled water. More and more the question is being asked: What is the actual impact of this multi-billion dollar industry on the environment? What was once just simple bottled water has now become a ubiquitous subject.

So, what’s the real deal on bottled vs. filtered? Consider this fact; the bottled water industry is the fastest growing and most profitable sector of the beverage industry, far surpassing soda and sports drinks. Yet research shows that the bottled “spring water” you think you’re drinking, is actually plain old tap water in a pretty package. As Michael Bloch of GreenLivingTips.com states, “Let’s face it - for the most part, water is water. H2O, no matter what type of fancy bottle you put it in or which movie stars and models extol its virtues. A report from the United Nations came to the conclusion that bottled water has no nutritional benefits over tap water in most countries.”

Additionally, and even more alarming, is the massive impact that bottled water has now been proven to have on the environment. In the November/December issue of Eating Well Magazine, Chris Ladd writes that, “despite having one of the best public water systems in the world. Americans continue to buy more bottled water and per capita each year…is it worth it?” Well, consider the following statistics: 40% of ALL bottled water, while claiming to be “pure spring water,” is really just filtered tap water. ” ’Each year, people are drinking 30 billion throwaway bottles of water,’ said the Sierra Club’s (www.sierraclub.org) Ruth Caplan. ‘If you put them end to end, it would go around the world more than 150 times.’ ” In the United States alone each year, more than 10 million barrels of oil are used just in the production of bottled water, that doesn’t take into account the amount used and the resulting carbon emissions for transport. The whole process from start to finish: bottling, packaging and shipping, creates substantial pollution and greenhouse gases.

In an ABC news online report, Allen Hershkowitz from the Natural Resources Defense Council (www.nrdc.org) states, “ ‘It’s ironic that on some of the labels of the bottles, you see snow-capped mountains and glaciers when in fact the production of the bottle is contributing to global warming, which is melting those snowcaps and those glaciers.’ ” (source: Eating Well Magazine Nov/Dec 2007, www.abcnews.go.com)    
Thus, given the rising expense of bottled water, the fact that in most cases it’s little more than glorified tap water, coupled with the alarming and extensive environmental impact, why not consider an alternate option? Water filtration is far cheaper, cleaner and environmentally friendly. The average cost for installation is under $300 dollars and under $100 dollars per year to replace the filter. What’s more, a water filtration system ensures that your water is truly clean and healthy, filtering out chlorine, lead and other contaminants just prior to consumption. 

Finally, exercising your power as a consumer by making conscious buying choices is fundamental. Gaining knowledge and understanding of the research, statistics, issues and facts is the key to being able to make “informed” choices. It’s these critical choices in our lives; the seemingly unremarkable decisions that do not detract from our current standard of living, that can make a difference. Just a little food for thought…while you enjoy a nice glass of cool, fresh water!!