I have recently kicked a bad habit. Drinking bottled water. It was a pretty tough habit to kick because I have been drinking bottled water for as long as I can remember. And believe it or not, there was only one brand that I would drink. It was the same brand I grew up drinking. All the other brands tasted different to me.
So why was it necessary for me to kick this habit? Well, after watching the documentary Tapped, I felt I had no choice. The movie educated me on so many issues regarding the bottled water industry that I was moved to action. Here is a short list of reasons why I decided to go bottle-less.
1. I learned that the water I was purchasing in a bottle was taken from free sources. So, in a nutshell, large corporations were pumping small town spring water, bottling it and selling back to us for an extremely large profit. Meanwhile, the towns in which they took the water from, were experiencing drought like conditions and were offered no compensation. Golden Nugget: I felt it was unethical for big business to come in and steal water that was not theirs. In truth, ground water is considered a free for all, but it seems unfair for companies to come in to small towns where they don’t belong and take large quantities of it, and then profit from it. Therefore, I did not feel right being part of this cycle.
2. Forty percent of bottled water comes from municipal sources. Which means that companies are taking tap water, bottling it and selling it back to us for 1900 times the amount we pay for our tap water. Golden Nugget: So many people choose to drink bottled water over tap water because they think that they are purchasing something of “higher” quality. The truth is that companies are selling you the same water you can run from your tap under the false pretense that you are getting something different. What is most misleading is that the manufactures are not putting this information on their bottles. Rather, they are decorating their bottles with pictures of mountains, natural springs and icebergs.
3. Bottled water has less regulations for testing than tap water. Which means in many cases, your local tap water is safer to drink than what you buy in a bottle. Golden Nugget: Even though we have been socialized to believe that bottled water is safer and more pure than tap water, in many cases this is not true. Because the bottled water industry is largely self-regulated, no one really knows what could be under that cap. In private studies reviewed in the movie Tapped, contaminants such as paint thinner, pharmaceuticals and bacteria were found in the bottle water tested.
4. BPA: I am sure you have seen these letters around, but what exactly do they mean? Well, instead of me explaining it to you, here is a link to Wikipedia for a quick understanding. Golden Nugget: You do not want this chemical in your body. Because it is the building block of the plastic that makes up the bottle, the BPA is leached into the water. This can lead to a variety of health problems. Your best bet is to stay away from plastic bottles and find another way to consume your beverages.
5. The impact that bottled water has made on the environment is tragic. Even though water bottles are said to be recyclable, they won’t walk themselves to the recycle bins. And unfortunately, consumers are still not recycling on a regular basis. In actuality, only 20% of bottles get recycled. The other 80% end up in landfills and the ocean. Golden Nugget: We can’t take back the damage we have already done, but we can make a difference moving forward. Buying a reusable water bottle can help cut down on one less bottle that will end up in an undesirable place.
The bottom line: When I learned about the information listed above, I wanted to change my habits. So, I purchased a reusable water bottle and installed a water filter in my kitchen sink. Are there still times where I buy bottled water? Of course there are. My goal is to limit my consumption and do my best to find alternatives. Because bottled water is so much a part of our modern-day culture now, it is hard to escape it. But being educated about what you put in your body and how it affects the environment can help you make better decisions.