12 Reasons To Stop Drinking Bottled Water.


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It is a common misconception for many people that bottled water is safer than tap, plastic bottles get recycled, and no harm is being done to the environment in the bottling process. Unfortunately, that could not be further from the truth! So in case you either needed more reasons to stop drinking bottled water, or a few extra talking points when discussing with your friends, I have assembled 12 solid reasons to kick the bottled water habit:

  • American tap water is among the safest in the world.
  • As much as 40% of the bottled water sold in the U.S. is just filtered tap water anyway. Be sure to check the label and look for “from a municipal source” or “community water system”, which just means it is tap water.
  • By drinking tap water, you can avoid the fertilizer, pharmaceuticals, disinfectants, and other chemicals that studies have found in bottled water.
  • Tap water costs about $0.002 per gallon compared to the $0.89 to $8.26 per gallon charge for bottled water. If the water we use at home cost what even cheap bottled water costs, our monthly water bills would run $9,000.
  • 88% of empty plastic water bottles in the United States are not recycled. The Container Recycling Institute says that plastic water bottles are disposed of (not recycled) at the rate of 30 million a day.
  • Plastic bottles can leach chemicals into the water if left in the sun, heated up, or reused several times.
  • Production of the plastic (PET or polyethylene) bottles to meet our demand for bottled water takes the equivalent of about 17.6 million barrels of oil (not including transportation costs). That equals the amount of oil required to fuel more than one million vehicles in the U.S. each year. Around the world, bottling water uses about 2.7 million tons of plastic…each year.
  • Bottled water companies mislead communities into giving away their public water in exchange for dangerous jobs.
  • It can take nearly 7 times the amount of water in the bottle to actually make the bottle itself.
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  1. While I totally agree with your post, and fully encourage everyone (!!) to stop the bottled water habit, I still think we have to remember that the disinfectant/hormone/bacteria/fertilizer problem is also seen in community water resources that tap waters are drawn from.

    I still think filtered tap water is the better option, though.

  2. Great post!
    I actually went and bought a stainless steel water container and no longer drink from plastic bottles.
    It’s a waste plus I don’t like the taste of plastic.

  3. Great article, I wish everyone would really take a look at what bottled water really is and wise up. You can get much better quality water by making it yourself, and its much cheaper and more convenient.

  4. I have a problem with my tap water: the Champlain Water District (which serves my town, Essex Junction, VT, and many others) uses chlor-amines (chlorinated ammonia) as a disinfectant, and we all get to be unpaid, unconsenting “guinea pigs”. For drinking water, I use filtered Burlington, VT (chlorine instead) tap water, free — courtesy of Burlington’s City Market (a co-op I am a member of). I make a point of combining errands, so don’t use gasoline just to go get water, but it’s still rather less convenient than simply buying spring water at the grocery store when I’m there.

    There are ways to remove chlor-amines, including activated charcoal filters (which then have to be monitored to determine when to replace), or adding chemicals such as vitamine C (ascorbic acid) and allowing time to react. Chlor-amines do NOT evaporate the way chlorine does, and are small enough molecules to pass reverse-osmosis filters. For use in an aquarium, or for kidney dialysis, chlor-amines MUST be removed, and the toxic effects extend to accidental/intentional release into waterways. What a pain!!! Whose “bright idea” was this?

    — Daniel Stein

  5. Michelle – While we still have a PUR faucet filter here at home, we will be switching to a Brita one shortly as they will start taking back the used filters. I like the faucet ones better than the pitcher ones, as I find the water tastes like plastic in them.

    1. You have to get the fluoride out of your water and these store bought filters cannot accomplish this. Fluoride is not just fluoride it has hundreds of chemicals combined together under the name of flouride.

  6. For me buying water is out of the question – I’d rather filter it but what would be a good filter? Another problem w/that is that their dispensers are made of plastic…
    What is recommended?

  7. I just stumbled upon this website. I’m making it a favorite. I’m 19 and I became health conscious a couple years ago when I went to a Whole Foods for the first time. I live in a small town where we don’t have health food stores. We didn’t even have organic food available in stores. Since then we’ve got a health food section in our Hyvee. And there’s a couple small health food stores downtown. But other than that the town hasn’t really caught on yet. Anyways I’ve been on the fence for a while about getting a water filter. I’m going to do this asap.

  8. Great post! Stainless steel is definately the way to go. Of course we love Earthlust bottles, and are proud to carry them on our site! Buying a reusable bottle instead of disposable bottles is not only green, but frugal and sustainable. Stainless steel can be 100% recycled, and will serve you for a long time before you need another!

  9. While I agree about lowering garbage levels, especially plastic, what writers of articles like this don’t take into consideration is the many places in the US where the tap water is NOT safe. Here in New Mexico, municipal supplies (and private wells) often have high levels of arsenic and fluoride, which cannot be filtered cheaply or easily at the faucet head. RO and other deionization is expensive and gives you health problems anyway (unless you replace the good minerals with a perfect vitamin list). There is no easy answer to this question, but scolding people indiscriminately is definitely not the solution. The EPA needs stricter standards, especially for fluoride and arsenic (as the NRDC admits), and municipal water districts needs to filter them. But until they do, I am going to avoid my tap water. Before you hug your tap water, I suggest you find a copy of the water analysis and study it. You should be able to find a copy online, with some digging.

  10. This reason —

    “Plastic bottles can leach chemicals into the water if left in the sun, heated up, or reused several times.”

    I was looking for hard scientific data about this today and I came up almost empty as far as the common PET water bottle goes. Can you point me to some science. I know intuitively that if the water tastes plastic, then there are petrochemicals in it but I can’t find a report saying ‘Don’t heat PET water bottles…’

  11. Bottled water is a scam from the food industry. They got us hooked to this habit, and now people think that bottled water is better than tap water.

  12. I think the 4th point is the most important for the average American – there is a market-based incentive for tap water. A simple filtration system can save folks hundreds of dollars. Unfortunate as it may be to us on the left, it’s likely to be the market that saves the environment. Take a look at how access to solar power has increased as production costs have been slashed and you can see Americans have no problem doing what’s right for the environment if there’s a financial incentive.

  13. I think we can convince most people to quit bottled water if they open their minds to the realities of buying them. I’ve always had a Brita Pitcher and have been using a Klean Kanteen. It’s just as convenient as bottled water but it tastes better and it’s cheaper!

  14. We drank bottled water for years. About 2 years ago that came to a stop when we were working hard to be greener. Our local area water is not filtered very well and smells horrible so we do not drink it. I buy water and we re-use our bottle containers.

  15. Great post. The best solution to avoid needless waste is either a tap filtration system or a filtered water pitcher. Bottld water is a senseless waste in so many ways. Thanks for reinforcing what most people should already be aware of.

  16. “88% of empty plastic water bottles in the United States are not recycled. The Container Recycling Institute says that plastic water bottles are disposed of (not recycled) at the rate of 30 million a day.” What a powerful example of how our smallest actions truly can have an outsize impact on others. Although the simple act of tossing that one little water bottle into the trash can instead of the recycling can seem inconsequential, knowing that around the world, countless people are doing the very same thing at the very same time is sobering. And with the tiny adjustment of using the recycling bin, we can really make a world of difference.

  17. Great Post, I live in CA and I remember when I was young no one ever drank out of a water bottle. We would just drink water from the faucet or if we were all outside out of the water hose. I just bought a Water Filtration for my home so we never buy bottled water.

    Voyage Home Loans

  18. Excellent article,

    Here in Australia we have a similar situation however recently the town of Bundanoon, in the NSW southern highlands, passed a resolution banning the sale of bottled water in the town – believed to be the first time such a ban had occurred in the world.

    I did some research on the issue for an article and found that many experts were saying the move had benefitted the town in many ways, both economically and environmentally.

  19. Here in Portland, OR plastic water bottles have a 5 cent deposit, so I would assume that the majority are being returned/recycled. There are hundreds of people rooting through dumpsters daily who are very happy to keep them out of the landfill for us. I suppose we are the exception in that regard. I would hardly consider the tap water in most places to be pure or safe (or palatable), and most home filters DO NOT remove fluoride, possibly one of the most harmful chemicals commonly consumed by nearly everyone, and again, Portland is exceptional in that our water is not fluoridated. Fluoride has been linked to thyroid disease, which is now nearly as common as menopause in middle aged women. The main point I wish to make is that most of your 12 reasons can also be applied to sodas, beer, “energy drinks”, and countless other types of contaminated swill that most chug daily without a thought to the consequences of their actions. Why single out bottled water when countless other drinks share many of the same “faults”? For me there is nothing other than pure spring water (with all it’s natural minerals intact and in balance) that meets my rather high standard for personal consumption, and whether I go to the spring myself or have it trucked hundreds of miles I will rarely drink anything else. If you wish to make people feel guilty for drinking bottled water while ignoring the countless other packaged “foods” and drinks which should carry the same stigma (it’s still water even when you add sugar and color) then that is your agenda and you are welcome to it, but blithely ignoring the fluoride issue does a disservice to those who would believe that home filtered tap water is safe and healthy. I won’t even start on the issue of residual pharmaceutical drugs of many kinds which have been found in water throughout the country. Actually you don’t want to get me started at all, because I have just put a toe in and the water’s not fine. Grade E for effort.

  20. BTW, your reason #3

    “By drinking tap water, you can avoid the fertilizer, pharmaceuticals, disinfectants, and other chemicals that studies have found in bottled water.”

    is very misleading.

  21. This article brings to light many startling facts about bottled water. Bottled water indeed is not safer than tap water. Studies have found the rate of contaminants is sometimes four times higher in bottled water versus tap water, and bottled water may contain estrogenic chemicals from plastic leaching into water. Moreover, the environmental impact of bottled water is staggering. Two billion bottles of water were consumed last year, but only 20 percent of plastic bottles get recycled.
    Tap water is a better option when it comes to the environment and safety. Because many of the EPA”™s standards are outdated and contamination in public drinking water systems does occur, consumers should consider a home filtration or purification system. One system that both filters and purifies is HoMedics Restore, which uses UV light technology to remove dangerous bacteria, viruses and microbial cysts.

  22. OK guys, enough. You can take your personal attacks somewhere else, as it’s not adding to the conversation at all. Further comments from either will be deleted.

  23. So, Dr. Phil. does the Homedics Restore product that you are promoting at numerous websites in addition to this one remove fluoride and residual pharmaceutical drugs? I hope they are paying you something to shamelessly tie your name to a product. Thanks for your non-contribution. Anyone here who’s NOT afraid to tackle the fluoride issue?

  24. Rainbojangles get your facts straight. The blog I posted is only the second time I ever blogged in my life so I’m not blogging as you infer. Second, in the future I won’t respond to any blogs against my blog. I merely am stating facts and I don’t know who you are connected with as you use a pseudoname. 50 billion bottles of water are consumed yearly in US and globally that figure is about 200 billion. Only 20% of plastics are recycled (despite garbage pickers). Those that wind up in landfills take about 900 yrs to decompose. Manufacture of plastic bottles require 17 million barrels oil/yr creating >2.5 million tons of CO2/yr. I used to use Brita but now i use Restore because it is the only one that kills microbial contamination. If you read the papers you’ll find numerous reports of microbial contamination of our potable water supply. In summary, use any system you prefer but don’t add to the pollution by using plastic bottles.

  25. I use a “pseudoname” (as you so ineloquently put it) Dear Doktor, because I am NOT promoting anything, unlike yourself. And BTW, get YOUR facts straight. I never mentioned the word “blog” anywhere in my last comment. I just thought it curious that I find you quoted on multiple web pages promoting Homedics Restore filter.

    “Research has found that UVC light inactivates waterborne pathogens within seconds,” said Dr. Philip Tierno, author of The Secret Life of Germs – What They Are, Why We Need Them, and How We Can Protect Ourselves Against Them. “HoMedics is the first to bring this technology to an easy-to-use home water purification pitcher. Users can watch the purification process in action as the UV bulb illuminates for 60 seconds, activating the short germ-killing cycle. Restore brings cleaner water to homes, plus supports ongoing environmental efforts by eliminating the use of plastic bottles.”

    Your comment is glaring for it’s omission of an actual denial of your connection to Homedics or it’s affiliates. I guess your silence on the fluoride issue answers that question, too. Hey, we’re all here “selling” something. Just be up front about it. Thanks for your redundancy, and keep enjoying that fluoride. I’ll take a little BPA before tap water swill any day.

  26. I agree tap water can be a better starting point than bottled. Both types of products vary in quality based upon geography, season of year, and treatment process. I think a little filtration goes a long way and is prudent in either case.

    Chloramines are used because they are more stable in distribution systems than chlorine, as noted, and this allows the initial dosage to be lower. Sometimes large systems have trouble balancing initial chlorine dosage with the residence time in the piping. The goal is to prevent bacteria regrowth in the piping system where your water may sit for hours or days (or longer?) before getting to your home from the treatment plant.

    But I think good, specific filtration for your local needs is the way to go.

  27. The reasons given for not drinking bottled water also apply to other bottled drinks, many of which are also not safer then tap water.

    “88% of empty plastic water bottles in the United States are not recycled. The Container Recycling Institute says that plastic water bottles are disposed of (not recycled) at the rate of 30 million a day.”

    What precent of other drink bottles (such as coke bottles) are not recycled.

    “On a weekly basis, 37,800 18-wheelers are driving around the country delivering water.”

    How many more juggernuats are driving around the country delivering other drinks like Coke, Wiskey and Beer?

    “It can take nearly 7 times the amount of water in the bottle to actually make the bottle itself.”

    Same with all bottled drinks and this raises another point, whist water is also distributed through pipes making bottles less of a neccessity, other drinks, which are only availible in bottles and cans take much more water and energy to produce. Water is needed to grow crops and more energy is needed to harvest and fertalise them than what’s needed to transport bottled water.

    Breweries also use water and energy. 35 litres of water go into every cup of tea (including tea brewed with tap water), 140 litres into a cup of coffee and add another 50 cups of water for every teaspoon of sugar added. And while tea and coffee might weigh less then water, it is transported over larger distances.

    And how much water does it take to produce a bottle of beer or wine?

    And if bottled water creates many dangerous jobs, how many (more) do other bottled drinks create. Bottled water is only a small portion of the bottled drinks market.

    The production of plastic bottles (and the water needed to produced them) to meet our demand for other bottled drinks such as coke and the energy needed to transport them is so much greater, and possibly the dangrous jobs they create.

  28. While I agree, that’s not the point. The taps in our homes don’t dispense Coke, Whiskey, or Beer. They dispense water. Thus, there is no need to buy it in a bottle.

  29. Coke comes from a tap at your house? Sweet.

    Again, has nothing to do with “healthier than”, either. You are missing the point, but you are totally entitled to your opinion.

  30. “The taps in our homes don”™t dispense Coke, Whiskey, or Beer. They dispense water. Thus, there is no need to buy it in a bottle.”

    This is completely wrong, while taps in our homes dispensing water means that there is no need to buy water in a bottle, they also mean there is no need to buy Coke Whiskey or Beer in bottles, because one could also choose to drink water. Many bottled drinks such as coke could hardly be said to be healthier then bottled water.
    An analogy, two people are each using a lamp, one is using it to read pulp fiction, the other is using it to read serious literature. Does the latter have more of a right to use electricity?

    This infomation came from a Low Tech Magazine article why bottled water is good for the enviroment.

  31. No, you are the one who is missing the point. There is no need to distribute coke through pipes and for it to come off the tap at your house. If only water does, then you can just choose to drink water instead. By choosing to drink water you are avoiding the need to use a bottle. It does have to do with “healthier than.” Bottled water opponents claim that bottled water could hardly be said to be healthier than tap water, but so are many other bottled drinks. The author of this article claims that bottled water is not as healthy as tap water, well same with coke.
    Even if coke came from a tap in your house, it would still use more water and energy than bottled water, due the to amount of water and energy it takes to produce each glass of coke. Far more energy is consumed in this process than is needed to transport bottled water.
    It is a common misconception that water is solely to blame even though it happens to be distributed through pipes. Contrary to popular belief, easy solutions do not exist, full stop.

    Here is the low tech magazine article:

  32. I agree bottled water is a waste. I invest maybe 150 bucks for filters for reverse osmosis system (some filters are changed every year others every 5). We use three to 5 gallons of water out of the system a day. That”™s three cents per gallon.

  33. I never stops to amaze me how bottled water is so popular and sold in such huge quantities, although there are really great reasons to stop drinking bottled water (you named 12, but I’m sure there could be more). I guess it just shows the power of marketing (from huge corporations) and the “ability” of us humans to act like, well, sheep. Great article!

  34. Like health care that we can’t get right..we are drinking tap water…yep, just decided to stop buying water our slogan in the USA seems to be “you get what you get and don’t throw a fit”. A bit of a martyr I agree but I am too fed up with hype. I think I’m doing somethings right then find out that I can’t win. So we are experimenting with just how bad is it. We are the test. I will let you know if the basic tap water in AZ makes me sick…what are people supposed to do if they can’t afford H20? Water like Health Care should be safe and free.

  35. I couldn’t agree more Urban Maps..it’s the principal too. Water is essential to all life…so it should not be rational to market it. Water is a big market in AZ..its a desert..LOL I just refuse to buy water in a fancy bottle or what not. Our water does have a heavy metal taste. I can’t say I see no difference I just refuse to purchase something that should be safe. If I croak…o-well
    The fear mongering too is getting to be too much

  36. I live in the U.K. and have always drank tap water. Unless you genuinely prefer the taste, I fail to see the difference. I’ve never fallen ill from drinking tap water and chances are I’m probably healthier for it as well.

  37. Great blog post! This year I have taken a formal pledge to never drink bottled water again. (at http://bottledwaterfreeday.ca/index2.php) I now always bring a reusable water bottle with me everywhere.

    Yet, I am still amazed at the amount of people who will not kick the bottled water habit. I think we could compare it to the plastic bag phenomenon.

    In Toronto, Canada (where I currently live), every store has to charge consumers for each plastic bag used (5 cents each). Although this has not stopped every single person from using plastic bags, there was an incredible shift of consumers remembering to bring their reusable bags with them.

    Municipal governments need to step up and charge fees for bottled water. Some cities, such as Seattle have banned bottled water altogether. We should no longer allow businesses and consumers to disregard externalities, including pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and waste.

    Overall, we need to change consumer behaviour to become more sustainable. In many cases, negative consequences may be the solution.

  38. I agree with many points about this article. However, what about some states in this country that have horrible tasting tap water even if it has been filtered? For example, I live in Las Vegas and the tap taste like chlorine no matter what I do. Because I do agree with allthe waste associated with bottled water, I buy the large jugs of Arrowhead or Crystal Geyser and poor it into a glass. This way I use less plastic than I would if I used bottled water. I do feel guilty about the waste, but unless I move out of this city I have no other choice.

  39. bottled water takes it from one places and insures it never returns.
    Down with bottled water, and down with privatized water!!!!
    water….NOT FOR SALE

  40. if ur scared to drink a little bit of flouride with your water your just a GERMAPHOBE!!!!!
    bottled water starts a monopoly like the oil companies once had.
    Water is going to lead to the next world war….which will be in the next 50 years i think at the rate the world is going.

  41. Here at my college, we have corn based bottles that are decompose in 90 days and made of completely natural products. I still use my steel water bottle, but this is a much better alternative to those who believe they need water bottles.

  42. Sometimes there are justifiable reasons for not drinking tap water. The town next to me, for example, had a leukemia outbreak, and studies showed that it was because of the drinking water. I also briefly lived in an area where the water was not only very chemical-laden, it contained sediment (which was not fun to clean off of everything). One alternative to bottled water that I haven’t seen mentioned, though, are the office-like water dispensers. When I used this, there was a place on the way to my house that reused the containers, and customers received a discount for returning the old containers.

  43. Bottled water is convenient, but what I do is keep a plastic bottle and just refill it. The one I am using now I have had for about 8 months.

  44. think of all the bottled water that sits on shelves and in refrigerators in your neighborhood stores, then the city, then the staet, then the coun try. think of all those bottles of water and sodas, and beer, etc. All that water is NOT in the water cycle. it is trapped. all taht water is not in the form of a cloud, vapor, rain, lakes or oceans. This and only this is the reason for the world’s drought. Texas has endured over 45 years of rain deficit. set the water free and the deserts will recede. think about it

  45. my view of purchases and drinking bottled water has now changed. is there a difference or do you recommend a particular filter system?

  46. Whole Foods stocks water from Italy and other countries — in glass bottles. Any data on the percentage of glass water bottles that get recycled? Or how much water it takes to make the glass bottles and/or the cardboard boxes they’re shipped in?

  47. We live in California’s Central Valley where some schools have had to shut off drinking fountains. The tap water is contaminated with nitrates and other agricultural chemicals. No amount of filtering is going to remove these poisons. Contrary to this article, tap water is not safe to drink in all areas. Also, California tap water has wrecked the local ecosystems, and also ruining people’s lives with the way it is managed. So what to do then? I don’t know. I don’t want to drink the tap water but also extremely concerned and disturbed with how bottled water is acquired and produced. It’s really quite frightening.

  48. Over the water here in Britain we have some of the best quality tap water in the world. Price alone makes it crazy to even think of using bottled water unless in an emergency eg a very hot day out where you are in danger of becoming dehydrated. The prices quoted are about the same over here. Tap water is very cheap here and much more dependable than bottled water – we have had quite a few scares over bottled water here. We also need to consider the environment – transporting water in bottles in huge freight lorries is madness itself. All over the world we need to clean up our act. And if you are worried about bacteria you can always fall back on the old trick of boiling the tap water first.

  49. The recommended amount of water for the average adult is 2 pints of water a day. Naturally this will vary according to where you live and what your occupation is : you may need even more if your occupation or living conditions cause you to be in danger of dehydration. Who can afford to pay 100’s of times the cost of tap-water for bottled water every day? Stick with tap water.

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