Why You Should Switch to Reusable Water Bottles

Although bottled water may seem safer and tastier than your home’s tap water, studies show that most bottled water is simply tap water that has been filtered and bottled at up to 1000x the price. Interestingly, most Americans have access to clean water, yet we are the leading consumers of bottled water.

Americans use approximately 50 billion water bottles every year and only 23% of these plastic water bottles are recycled. This means 38 billion plastic water bottles are taken to landfills where they can take more than 450 years to decompose. In the United States alone, around 910 million gallons of oil are used annually to produce of plastic bottles that will then be discarded after a single use.

As well, most plastic water bottles contain bisphenol A (BPA) which has shown to be harmful to human health in some studies. According to the Mayo Clinic, this compound can leach into food or beverages from containers that are made with BPA and possibly affect the brain, behavior, and blood pressure. BPA has been shown to disrupt the natural hormones in the body, especially in children.

  An excavator sifts through a pile of discarded plastic water bottles. Photo from The Acronym.

An excavator sifts through a pile of discarded plastic water bottles. Photo from The Acronym.

Many people believe the bottled water industry to be more regulated than tap water, in fact, the opposite is true in most cases. According to the National Resources Defense Council, tap water in cities must be disinfected, filtered to remove pathogens, and tested for viruses. Bottled water does not have to undergo all of these precautions. Likewise, tap water is tested daily while bottled water companies are only required to undergo monthly testing.

Reusable water bottles also save consumers an absurd amount of money throughout the year. If you only drink bottled water, assuming you drink 64 oz. of water per day, you’d consume around 4 16.9 oz. bottles of water per day. Those 4 bottles per day would cost you about $4 everyday or $1,460 per year. In contrast, 1,460 bottles filled with tap water would cost you approximately $0.73. To put it this way: once you’ve bought your first bottle of water you’ve already spent more than you would from drinking an entire year’s worth of tap water.

The water treatment process is a carefully refined science that ensures the safety of the public health. The process begins when raw water is drawn from the source and is filtered through a screen then mixed with ferric chloride for coagulation.  When this occurs, the dissolved particles in the water bind together with the added chemicals and form larger particles, called floc. After the coagulation forms the large floc particles, they begin to sink due to their weight. The particles begin to fall to the bottom of the treatment tank, called sedimentation. After the floc has settled to the bottom, the water will then undergo filtration in which it moves through a series of different materials such as sand, gravel and charcoal to filter out any remaining dissolved particles. Once the water has been filtered, a disinfectant such as chlorine is added in order to kill any remaining parasites, bacteria, and viruses before being distributed to all of the houses and businesses within the system.

Water treatment facilities work around the clock to ensure the proper safety precautions are in place and water remains safe and affordable. The bottom line is that bottled water is simply more expensive, more detrimental to environmental and societal health, and less regulated than tap water. These reasons enforce that we should start appreciating our natural resources and switch to reusable water bottles and tap water.

 

Marissa Rollman