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5 Reasons Why You Should Not Buy Bottled Water

Updated on February 20, 2013

Americans consumed 28.3 gallons of bottled water in 2006. This need not be the case. Here are five reasons why most of the time we do not have to buy disposable bottled water. In fact, we should not.

Use tap water in refillable bottles instead. Use the tap water from the cold water tap. Not the hot water tap, because the hot water goes through your water heater which can have sediments and rust inside. You can further filter the tap water with a water filter pitcher if you like.

1. It is Expensive

Bottled water is many times more costly than tap water in the United States. In some estimates, it cost 10,000 more to buy bottled water than it is to buy tap water. Well in some public place, tap water is free.

Bottled water is also more expensive than gasoline of the same volume. And more expensive than sodas too. Reader's Digest says that "Gallon per gallon, bottled water can cost more than gasoline."[4]

In fact, if you calculate the price for the same amount, you will find it to be more expensive than gasoline in United States. Here is a quick calculation using the conversion that 1 US fluid ounce = 0.0078125 US gallons.

Let's say that the price of a typical 16.9 ounce bottled water, is $1.50. This bottle is equivalent to 500 milli-liters. So for one liter of that water, it would cost $3.00. For those who are more familiar with gallons, one liter is equal to 0.264 US gallons. That means, one gallon of this water would cost $11.36.

Assuming that you are buying those hand-held tiny bottle waters, the price for that tiny bottle of water is equivalent to over $11 per gallon. In comparison, gas at $4.00 per gallon would be considered high in the United States and people will start complaining about it.

Of course it may not be that expensive if you buy in bulk or buy those large gallon bottles for the office. But still, others have calculated using different method to arrive at a result of [3] ...

Tap Water: $0.002 per gallon
Bottled Water: Ranges from $0.89 to $8.26 per gallon

This is anywhere from hundreds of times to thousands of times more expensive for bottled water than tap water.

The executive summary of brochure says ...

"American consumers drink more bottled water every year, in part because they think it is somehow safer or better than tap water. They collectively spend hundreds or thousands of dollars more per gallon for water in a plastic bottle than they would for the H20 flowing from their taps."[3]

2. Tap Water May Be Just as Good

In the United States, the municipal water supply is tested on a regular basis and is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency and state and local governments. In the United States, tap water is tested more often than bottled water and is held to higher standards.

If the water is bottled and sold within state lines, then it is outside of FDA (Federal Drug Administration) oversight. Since FDA implies federal jurisdiction, and is only applied when the bottles crosses state lines. The FDA regulates only the 30 to 40 percent of bottled water sold across state lines.[3]

According to the film Tapped, bottled water is virtually unregulated and 40% of bottle water is simply filtered tap water.[1] states that "Bottled water is not safer than tap water." and "Increasingly, bottled water comes from the tap."[2]

Here's a report by CNN that Aquafina bottled water is made from tap water. Other sources say that one-quarter of the bottled water comes from public reservoirs.[4] Some do filter and process the water further. But so does your city municipality.

Unless they specifically say so, just because the bottle shows a picture of a mountain does not necessarily mean that the water comes from springs or mountain top lakes. Next time look at the fine print in the bottle, you might find that some say that the water came from municipal water supply.

The book "Your Health, What Works, What Doesn't" by Reader's Digest says ...

"Bottled water is no cleaner or safer than the H2O from your faucet. The main difference: It cost much more." (page 107) [4]

It also agrees that in many cases bottle water is tap water (although packaged in a more convenient form). In a blind test, chemists have compared samples from bottled and tap water and was unable to tell the difference.

Here we are talking about the tap water in the United States on average. There may be rare exceptions where small pockets of local communities may find bottled water to be of higher quality than tap water. For some less wealthy countries where lack of clean water may be hard to come by, then that may be another case where bottled water may be better.

3. Bottled Water is Bad for the Environment.

Although the plastic and bottled water is 100% recyclable, not everyone are recycling them.

When bottles are littered and not recycled, it gets into our streams and oceans. They are hard to bio-degrade and they end up in beaches and in the North Pacific Gyre (which some call the Pacific Garbage Patch)

Marine life end up eating tiny bits of these plastics and get sick or die.

Reader's Digest book says ...

"If you care about the well-being of the planet, it's hard to justify buying water in bottles." [4]

4. It takes a lot of energy to produce bottled water

Many people do not know that it actually takes oil to produce the plastic bottle. Oil refineries makes a base component that is to become the plastic of the bottle. To produce the plastics used in bottled water sold each year in the United States, it takes 1.5 million barrels of oil.

Then oil is needed to transport the bottles to the stores. And then more energy is required to recycle that bottle.

Not only does it require oil to produce bottled water, it also require water. It take 3 liters of bottled water to produce 1 liter of bottled water.

5. Bottled Water Increases Landfill Garbage

After the bottle has been used, it needs to be disposed of. When bottled water are thrown in the garbage instead of being recycled, it increases our landfill garbage problem. Only

About 86 percent of these plastic end up in the garbage instead of being recycled.[3]


Buy a reusable water bottle that you can fill up with tap water. If you like, you can filter your tap water first with a filter pitcher or a home water filter. Now you can have the convenience of carrying water wherever you go without the negative impacts of bottled water. See page 178 -179 of Reader's Digest Your Health, What Works, What Doesn't to learn about the different types of home filters.  Home filters (including pitchers) are effective.

Make sure you buy bottles that do not use BPA plastic in it. BPA stands for Bisphenol A. It is an endocrine disruptor which can mimic the body's own hormones. Even small amounts can have that effect. In the film Tapped, an expert talks about the dangers of BPA.

See article Which Water Bottles are Safe.

Another alternative is to get stainless steel water bottles.

Exceptions when bottled water may be a good idea

In this article, we have seen 5 good reasons to not buy bottled water. However, as with any rule, there are always exceptions. One exception is when your local tap water is not great, such as too high in contaminates, heavy metals, chloride, or fluoride, etc. In those cases, bottle water from a good source might be a good idea.

For example, The Inside Track writes ...

"We recommend drinking purified water because you can avoid unnecessary exposure to toxins and other pathogens by doing so. You can either purchase a water filter or buy bottled water." [page 98]

Seychelle Water Pitcher with Radiological Nuclear Radiation Water Filter

Water from glass bottles are preferred over plastic ones due to the fact the plastics contains phthalates that can leach into the water and contribute to hormone disruption.

One problem with tap water is the fluoride they put in some local supplies. Consider buying a water pitcher with a radiological nuclear radiation water filter (such as the one by Seychelle) which claims to filter out the smaller molecules like fluoride. Most other water pitchers do not.

Have your tap water ever tastes or smells like chlorine? That is another problem with tap water. David Getoff talked about the chlorine problem of tap water in an episode on Underground Wellness which you can listen to here. We can even absorb chlorine from the water in our showers.


This article was written in March 2012 and statistics may only be accurate is at the time of writing. Author may receive revenues from the display ads within article.


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