Consumers are wasting billions of dollars a year on billions of gallons of bottled water in large part because advertising spin has led them to believe that water in a bottle is safer or better than tap water.
Truth is, tap water generally is just as safe, clean, and healthy as bottled water, and in many cases more so. In fact, the federal government requires far more rigorous and frequent safety testing and monitoring of municipal drinking water. The Environmental Protection Agency requires that utility companies test municipal water hundreds of times per month, while the Food and Drug Administration requires only one water test per week by bottling companies.
Bottled water causes many equity, public health, and environmental problems. Beverage companies often take water from municipal or underground sources that local people need. As much as 40 percent of bottled water comes from the tap. Producing plastic bottles uses energy and emits toxic chemicals. Transporting the bottled water spews pollution into the air, adding to global climate change.
Taking Back the Tap Helps Your Health, Your Pocketbook, and Our Environment
By turning to your home tap, you’ll avoid the arsenic, microbes, toxins, and other pollutants that tests have found in various bottled water brands. What’s more, you’ll face less risk of exposure to chemicals that could leach from the plastic bottle into the water.
Turning to tap water could help you save money, as well. Tap water costs about $0.002 per gallon compared to the $0.89 to $8.26 per gallon charge for bottled water.
Giving up bottled water also helps our environment. Annual production of the plastic (PET or polyethylene) bottles to meet U.S. consumer demand for bottled water takes the equivalent of about 17.6 million barrels of oil, not including the cost of transporting the bottled water to consumers. That more or less equals the amount of oil required to fuel more than one million vehicles on U.S. roads each year. Worldwide bottling of water uses about 2.7 million tons of plastic each year. And in the end, about 86 percent of the empty plastic water bottles in the United States land in the garbage instead of being recycled.