We’ve all done it; we buy a case of water for the house or we don’t bring a reusable bottle with us during our errands because we know we can just pick up a bottled water at Target (or wherever we’re shopping), and don’t think twice about it. But what is it really costing us?
The U.S. bottled water industry is rapidly growing, increasing 50% in just 10 years and a lot of this water is coming from the driest parts of California.
California is currently facing droughts that are quickly becoming catastrophic and very serious. State regulators are mandating the harshest cuts in the state’s history! And they aren’t discriminating; everyone from farmers to local businesses to neighborhoods are being regulated. The Nestle Company’s CEO recently said he would not stop bottling water at the company’s California plant, despite the devastating droughts, in fact, he would bottle more if he could because Americans just can’t stop buying it. Nestle owns 6 bottled water companies including Poland Springs, Deer Park, Ice Mountain, Arrowhead, Ozarka, and Zephyrhills.
California’s drought has brought attention to the bottled water industry, and not in a good light. Our American obsession with bottled water isn’t just affecting the drought in California…it’s affecting everything from our wallets to our health to our oceans and to other countries around the world.
Here are some jaw-dropping facts that helped me make the switch to tap water.
- Cost: Bottled water is 2,000x more expensive than tap water. In an investigation, G.E. Miller found that he could fill 4,787 – 20oz bottles with tap water for only $2.10. So if he paid $1 for a bottled water, he’d be paying 2,279x more than the cost of tap!
- Health: The water going into bottled water is far less regulated than tap. The truth is we don’t really know what is in our bottled water because it goes virtually unregulated by the FDA . Terrifying. This is partly due to gaps in federal oversight.
- Pollution. If you take the amount of plastic water bottles that Americans use in just one week it could circle the globe….not just once, but FIVE TIMES! That’s just one week’s worth. What’s worse is that 80% of these bottles end up in landfills and in our oceans. The rest is either recycled or shipped to countries like India where the plastic burden is made their problem. That’s only the aftermath. The amount of oil it takes to make the plastic bottles is a whole other problem. The oil used in just one year (to make the plastic bottles) is enough to fuel one million cars and that’s not counting the oil it takes to then ship the bottles.
- Water Waste: It takes the equivalent of three bottles of water to make a single water bottle. This is horrible because of the fact below…
- Death: 750 million people around the world don’t have access to clean drinking water. Their drinking water is so polluted not only from their waste and poor sanitation systems (or lack thereof), but from OUR waste as well; chemicals, plastics, and medications, traveling through the water and air, polluting their drinking water so badly that roughly 1,400 children die per day due solely to water borne illnesses.
Together we can stop all this… or at the very least not contribute to it. I know what you’re thinking, “I’m on board, but my tap water doesn’t taste the greatest”. That’s where water filters come into play… The cheapest route is a Brita. We used a Brita filter when we were living in our apartment and it worked great! Now we have well water and the taste is so fresh and crisp, I don’t even need a filter. However, apparently we do because our water test showed trace levels of arsenic, so we are saving up to get a Berkey Water Filter.
What about for emergencies? Or camping trips? We all like to have water backup in the car or house in case of natural disasters, undesirable situations, or camping trips. I recommend canned water. It has less of an impact on the environment and your health, plus they are less likely to get crushed or punctured.
Filling up your cup with water from the Poland Springs bubbler at work? The effects on your health are just as damaging. The plastic used on these bottles is typically BPA, and when a study was done back in the early 2000’s, researches found that 80% of people had BPA in their urine as a result. Now that everyone is backing off from BPA it is most likely not being used on your 5-gallon jugs, however it is being replaced with another plastic that we really don’t know anything about (just like BPA when it was first introduced). The best advice is to stay away from the plastics, and this includes reusable plastic water bottles, like Nalgene.
Further your learning! I watched this GREAT documentary called “Tapped”. They have such a great perspective on the issue and really open your eyes to how serious it is. I can’t tell you how much fascinating information is in this video! I HIGHLY recommend watching it! Watch it here.