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Your Take: Ultrapure Awesome Bottled (Tap) Water

I think bottled water is absolutely f’ing ridiculous. There, I said it. Let us ignore the fact that what you’re paying for essentially filtered tap water at a multiple of perhaps hundreds or thousands of times normal, let us instead focus on the environmental impact of all the plastic required to store what is essentially a free resource. Plastic takes oil and basically never biodegrades. I don’t know how many bottles end up in landfills or how many bottles Americans consume in a year but I know the number is huge and there is a tremendous amount of waste. I don’t think you need more than common sense to know that a plastic bottle in a landfill is worse than not having another plastic bottle in a landfill. 🙂

If you don’t believe in global warming, let’s take a look at the local impact of what happens when a company comes in and starts pumping water out of natural springs and wells. What a company basically does is go in and pump all the water out and into high capacity wells for their own use, basically drying up the water supply for the local residents. What usually happens is that the water takes hundreds of years before it will start taking in a lot of the minerals in the ground and so when companies come and pump the water out faster than nature can replenish it, you’re talking about impacting the lives of the local residents. While the beverage companies do provide money and jobs to the local residents, it comes at a cost much higher than they have been willing to bear and in many cases have been fighting back [3].

Let’s say you don’t care about the environmental impacts and you don’t care about the local residents, what would you say if I told you bottled water isn’t necessarily better than tap? Well, consider this: there is no real regulatory agency that regulates bottled water, but the Environmental Protection Agency does regulate public water supplies. The only thing the FDA can do is regulate that the water is bottled in sanitary conditions with food grade equipment. That’s it. If you’d like to learn more, here’s a great article [4] on the subject worth checking out. Oh yeah, here’s an article about a study where they found the bottled water was no worse than New York City tap water [5].

The only part of the bottled water craze I can understand is the convenience factor, but having a Nalgene (or some other indestructible hardened plastic bottle will suffice) bottle is good enough. It’s also better on the environment and your wallet, plus it’s starting to be trendy again to have a Nalgene.

What’s your take on bottled water? Love it? Hate it? You know my stance, I’d love to hear yours.