Tap Water vs. Bottled Water: The More Sustainable Method
By Yasmeen Bankole
Experts have always led us to believe that bottle water is healthier and clean alternative to tap water. Many water advertisements lead us to believe that all bottled water comes from pristine springs and alpine peaks. But in reality, bottled water is just plain, filtered water. Many people know this, and yet this has not diminished the market of water. Estimates variously placed worldwide show that bottled water sales are between $50 and $100 billion each year, with the market expanding at the fast annual rate of 7 percent.
Consumers choose bottled water for a few reasons, including convenience, taste and quality. Bottled water can also be an alternative to other beverages when consumers want to eliminate or decrease the amount of sugar, caffeine, artificial flavors or other ingredients from their daily intake. Public water systems provides water for human consumption in most places, through piped distribution systems for specific areas or communities. The Food and Drug Administration oversees bottled water production, while the Environmental Protection Agency regulates tap water. However, they use comparable standards for ensuring safety.
In October 2011, the Drinking Water Research Foundation published “Bottled Water and Tap Water: Just the Facts: A Comparison of Regulatory Requirements for Quality and Monitoring of Drinking Water in the United States.” The information presented in DWRF’s report supports the fact that drinking water, whether from the tap or a bottle, is normally safe, and that administrative requirements for both forms of water provide our country with clean, safe drinking water.
So I urge everyone to stop purchasing water bottle and just drink tap water instead. Although bottled water is very large business, it is not a very sustainable market. It's costly, wasteful and distracts from the issues of public health: the construction and maintenance of safe municipal water systems. Buy a reusable water bottle and use that instead of plastic bottles. Don’t like the taste of tap water? Purchase a carbon filter that turns most tap water into fresh, filtered water and at a fraction of the cost of buying bottled water. Through individual change, we can become a more sustainable society, one reusable bottle at a time.