By now, most of you have probably heard of the dangers of bottled water. News stories, documentaries, and scientific studies all report potential dangers that buying pre-packaged bottled water can have on your health, your wallet, and the environment. At the same time, we also hear about health risks associated with tap water, and bottled water sales don’t seem to be dropping at all. We still see them sold at every supermarket or gas station, and their plastic carcasses still litter every recreational gathering spot you can think of.
So where should you be getting your water? Is buying pre-bottled water worth the extra cost for its convenience and promised purity, or is it just a waste of money and resources? This article will hope to end your watery debate and show you that it’s best for everyone if you forget the retailed H2O and instead invest in filtering your own tap water.
The first and perhaps most consequential reason not to buy bottled water is what’s left behind after you’re finished drinking. Whether you litter or do the right thing and properly dispose of them makes no difference; all those flimsy plastic bottles will ultimately end up in the same place. They’ll eventually be washed into the ocean, where they’ll be pulled by currents to join millions of other plastic waste particles in a swirling maelstrom of ever-expanding garbage. And it will never leave.
Unlike everything else in the ocean, plastic never re-enters the food web, instead breaking down into smaller and smaller particles that, despite their changing size, are still plastic. Life forms cannot break plastic down into nutrients. Thinking they’re food, fish eat these particles and ultimately starve because their stomachs fill up with something inedible. So while water bottles may not be the only source of this pollution, they certainly have a significant impact on this plastic epidemic.
Use of Resources
Pollution isn’t the only way plastic water bottles negatively impact the environment. In order to manufacture, package, and distribute such a large volume of products in this massive industry, all kinds of limited resources are used in vast quantities, from fossil fuels to, ironically, water. It takes a whole lot of fuel to ship a boat load of water bottles across the globe, so why not just use tap water from local sources and skip the entire water shipment process altogether?
Toxins in Plastic
The damage plastic can do doesn’t stop with the environment, either. Even when they have “BPA free” slapped all over their packaging, plastic water bottles still have a slew of other potentially toxic chemicals laced into their flimsy walls. These chemicals can seep out of the plastic and into their contained water if exposed to heat or simply sitting too long, and they can even be leeched from littered bottles into soil and groundwater.
Most of these chemicals haven’t been properly tested, so we don’t really know what they can do to the human body. It’s probably best to not find out the hard way.
It’s Often the Same Thing as Tap
But isn’t bottled water more pure than tap? With images of mountain springs and claims of unrivaled purity, bottled water companies love to sell you the notion that their water is somehow better than your local supply. This is a total lie. As many as 40% of bottled water companies just use local municipal supplies and up-charge their products by up to 10,000%. It’s a total waste of money.
If you notice a difference in taste, it’s probably because these companies add certain minerals to bottled water to enhance the flavor. It’s just glorified tap water with a fancy label; you’re better off filtering your own tap water from your own home.
Making the Switch is Easy
The final reason you should wane yourself of pre-bottled water is that it’s easy and cheap to make the switch to all-tap. Rather than buying a gallon of water next time you’re at the grocery store, instead invest in a water filter and a reusable bottle. BPA-free ones are easy to find, but stainless steel is an even better option. As far as filters go, you don’t even need to spend more than on small cartridges you replace every few months. And the best part about making the switch to tap is that you’ll know your preventing further damage to the environment, your health, and your wallet.
So go out and buy yourself a reusable bottle and start filtering your own water! If you’re worried about hard water or possible contaminants in your local supply, remember that there’s a huge variety of filters, softeners, chlorine removers, disinfectants, and all kinds of other products out there designed to improve your tap water, and many of them are sold right here on this site. You have no excuse; ditch the bottles and bring on the tap!