This is the second half of a two part post about bottled water. Please be sure to visit the first post about the effects of bottled water on dental health.
Regulations looser for bottled water than tap water
Fun fact: the FDA has fewer regulations on bottled water than they do on tap water. This is not to say that tap water is automatically better than bottled water – bottled water companies could hold their product to a much higher standard than water treatment plants. However, the water coming out of your faucet has no choice but to meet these high standards, whereas bottled water could legally backslide. So if you’re looking for a safe bet in terms of quality, I’d go with tap water.
Bottled water: Bad for your wallet
Not to mention, drinking from the tap is exponentially cheaper than drinking bottled water. Treated tap water costs about a penny a gallon. Compare that to a $1 bottle of water, which costs 5 cents an ounce.
As a poor college kid, I know what I’ll be drinking.
Bottled water: Bad for the environment
Here are some quick statistics about the environmental impact of bottled water:
- It takes three liters of water to produce one liter of bottled water, due to the nature of creating plastic
- In 2006, 17 million barrels of oil were required for the production of bottled water – this figure does not account for the oil it then took to transport the bottles for consumption.
- The United States alone consumes 500,000,000 bottles of water per week. Put end to end, these bottles could circle the planet five times.
- Eighty percent of plastic bottles end up in landfills, where they will take thousands of years to break down.
We’re all taught that recycling is better than throwing things away, but recycling is only one part of a greater strategy for dealing with this mess. In grade school, I was taught the three R’s: Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle. Recycling plastic bottles is great, but it’s not enough on its own. To truly cause an impact, we need to reduce our consumption of bottled water, and whenever possible, refill a bottle throughout the day instead of grabbing a new one.
I found this video, the Story of Bottled Water, to be entertaining and informative. If you like it, check out some of the other videos on the website – they all take a closer look at so many consumer products we take for granted.