How to Think About Bottled Water

By Damien Knight

It was a hot day for April and I was checking in to Opryland Hotel in Tennessee for my honeymoon. I was parched and on my bed was a bottle of heaven. It was Dasani water. I think back on that day and recall seeing one water fountain in the entire building. Opryland is huge, surely there would be water fountains at every restroom.  Yet it seems water fountains are antiquated. This incident happened in 2006 but according to Reader’s Digest our bottle water consumption has increased 10% since then.

You might think we increased to this point because bottled water is just safer than the tap, right? I mean look at the pristine mountains on Aquafina’s water. The thing is Aquafina’s water comes from the same source as the tap. 25 percent of bottled waters come from Municipal tap water. Not only is most of these bottled waters not safer, they are expensive.

You end up buying this bottle water that is just as good as tap for 1000 times the rate of tap. It’s outrageous when you consider it.  I did not believe this myself, so I went to the Walmart in Bowling Green and a Casey’s in Russellville, Kentucky. I recorded the prices and compared that to Bowling Green’s Municipal. I placed my findings in the chart below.  The price per gallon for tap is 0.01 cent versus Aquafina which $5.12 cents a gallon. My favorite water, Dasani, was cheaper but still outrageous at $3.97 per gallon.

chart2
Bottled water, it turns out is not safer than tap, not always from some pristine spring and is more expensive. What about environmental impact of the bottles? Most bottles just end up in landfills. Fewer than 20% of bottles get recycled. Story of Stuffs video the narrator even discusses how the recycling ends up just being down cycling rather than just making new bottles. For a product that tries to tout being environmentally conscious they are ruining the very water we should be drinking.The water companies want you to believe you are paying to have a safer product. The Story of Stuff’s , The Story of Bottled Water discusses bottled water’s demonizing of tap waters. They even quote “When we’re done, tap water will be relegated to showers and washing dishes.”  This statement was originally said by Susan Wellington, president of Quaker Oats, concerning sales strategy of bottled water. The truth is, bottle water is often less regulated and maybe even more dangerous than tap. Reader’s Digest states that bottlers don’t even have to tell consumers when their water has been contaminated.


So how should we approach the problem? How do we think about and solve the bottle water crises we have got ourselves in? Every source said the same thing in this regard, cut back on bottled water unless you live in a place where tap really is unsafe. Tap water doesn’t require fossil fuels to make the bottles, it doesn’t use extra water to purify it and it is 1000 times cheaper. If you need water on the go carry a canister.

I know that places are fighting back against bottled water. On my campus, Western Kentucky University, you can get water refilled at canister stations next to traditional water fountains. Restaurants which use to encourage ordering bottled are being pressured by people to serve tap. Save the bottle, get a glass!


References

  1. Blue, C. O. (2010, June 10). The War on Tap Water: An Exclusive Excerpt from Peter Gleick’s Bottled and Sold. Retrieved December 10, 2017, from http://www.circleofblue.org/2010/world/the-war-on-tap-water-an-exclusive-excerpt-from-peter-gleicks-bottled-and-sold/
  2. News, A. (2010, July 01). Excerpt: ‘Bottled & Sold’ By Peter H. Gleick. Retrieved December 10, 2017, from http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Books/bottled-sold-peter-gleick/story?id=11055042
  3. Leonard, A. (2017, February 23). The Story of Bottled Water. Retrieved December 10, 2017, from https://storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-bottled-water/
  4. Torres, P. (2017, May 03). Bottled Water Vs. Tap Water: Rethink What You Drink – Reader’s Digest. Retrieved December 10, 2017, from https://www.rd.com/health/diet-weight-loss/rethink-what-you-drink/

 

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4 comments on “How to Think About Bottled Water

  1. […] via How to Think About Bottled Water […]

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  2. carefreespiritfairy says:

    Bottled water is good but if you have a good filter for your tap water then there is no problem

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  3. Heather Rose says:

    I agree with what you said. I think that we should stop patronizing bottled water because it just cause us a lot of expenses. It is also bad to our health and most especially it just add up to pollutants that causes the damage in the environment.

    Like

    • I do not purchase bottled water, I use to but after taking Hydrology and Oceanography in college and learning how our plastic is affecting the ocean I can’t do it anymore. Tap is better if it is healthy. Unfortunately communities like Flint have to rely on bottled water.

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