In developing countries where clean drinking water is hard to come by, bottled water may be the only option. Here in the United States, however, bottled water has more negatives than positives. Here are some facts about bottled water:
- $100 billion is spent every year on bottled water globally
- The US goes through about 50 billion bottles a year, and most of those bottles end up in the landfills instead of being recycled (Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It by Elizabeth Royte)
- Groundwater pumping by bottled water companies draws heavily on underground aquifers and harms watersheds (Sierra Club)
- Bottled water companies gain high profits by drawing water from public water sources and turning around and reselling it for 2,900 times the price as regular tap water (Columbia Water Center at Columbia University’s Earth Institute in New York)
- Bottled water is more expensive and is likely no safer or cleaner than tap water
- Transporting the bottles and keeping them cold burns fossil fuels
Does it really make sense to drink bottled water? In September 2009, the city of Bundanoon in Australia was the first in the world to ban bottled water from the shelves of stores and installed water fountains around the city instead. Some cities in the United States, such as San Francisco and Seattle have joined the band wagon too. These cities no longer buy water for city use. Some restaurants in these cities have gone to filtered tap water instead of bottled water.
An easy solution for the rest of us is to buy a reusable water bottle and fill it up with filtered tap water though out the day. It saves money and is much more environmentally friendly.
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