Ohh bottled water, what can I say about bottled water. First of all, for years I was guilty. ‘But it tastes so much better than tap water!!’ I would cry. Or perhaps more truthfully ‘But I was unprepared for the fact that I need to rehydrate!!’. Seriously, I get it.
“if Elizabeth I had chucked out a plastic bottle while she was Queen of England, that bottle might still be on earth today.”
Be it for the taste, for the ease, for the lack of preparation, we are still a world obsessed with bottled water and the bottled water market is the fastest growing drinks market. The Zenith Uk Drinks Report states that:
- In 2016, UK consumption of bottled water increased by 11% in 2016 to more than 3,700 million litres
- The UK bottled water industry is worth around £2.7 billion per year
Tap is best
Ok, so we’re buying more and more bottles of water, but there are some pretty valid reasons why tap is best:
- bottled water typically costs a whopping 500 times more than tap water… 500 TIMES MORE!!
- It’s not just the end of a bottle’s life that is a problem. On average, 162g of oil and seven litres of water are required to manufacture a single one litre volume disposable PET bottle and this amounts to the release of 100g of carbon dioxide (CO2) a major greenhouse gas (GHG).
- It takes on average 450 years for a bottle of water to break down naturally. So, hypothetically, if Elizabeth I had chucked out a plastic bottle while she was Queen of England, that bottle might still be on earth today.
- It takes THREE TIMES the amount of water to produce one bottle of water than it does to fill it. That’s crazy when you consider how desperate some parts of the world are for water.
Of course, the solution seems pretty simple. Fill up a bottle with tap water and take it with you. Simple!
So, which bottle to buy in the first place? I was never a huge fan of steel water bottles, I could never imagine how the water doesn’t end up tasting metallic, but I am a convert. Jerry Bottle make some great stainless steel bottles, which could be considered on the pricey side but they’re a great company who put 100% of their profits straight into water projects around the world. Read all about how they give back here http://jerrybottle.com/how-we-give/. Another company doing amazing work are Frank Water – http://www.frankwater.com. They’re working to provide clean, safe water in India and Nepal and sell refillable bottles and cups to support this work.
I know, a bulky, heavy bottle is a pain to carry around. Well, if you’re not out for long, why not consider one of these littl’uns. They’re light weight, compact and won’t take up too much room in your handbag.
One issue that I have come across is where to refill. The guys at www.join-the-pipe.org are leading an amazing global campaign for tap water dispensers, but truthfully, I have never seen one and I can’t imagine one in my town. I’m sure when I was a kid, water fountains seemed to be everywhere, but not so much these days. Of course, where there’s a problem, there’s an app for that! Check out ‘Find a Fountain’ or ‘We Tap’. They map the location of water fountains, and you can add fountains that you come across to help your fellow ‘re-fillers’.
Another point of view?
Now I know there are arguments for bottled water, and in the interest of balance I feel like I should mention them:
- Convenience – I’ve already touched on this, and yes, popping into a shop to buy a bottle of water may seem a bit more convenient. But is it really? Is filling up a bottle of water at home that much of a hassle??
- Taste – there are some claims that bottled water tastes better, and I must admit that the taste of water does vary from place to place. However there have have been taste tests conducted by the Think Outside the Bottle campaign which have shown that people cannot taste the difference.
- Water Quality – some people simply don’t trust the quality of the water. I wonder what they would think if they knew that very often it comes from a municipal supply and according to the World Wildlife Fund “there are more standards regulating tap water in Europe and the United States than those applied to the bottled water industry,”.
- Fluoridation – water fluoridation is the controlled addition of fluoride to a public water supply to reduce tooth decay (thank you Wikipedia!). There is some strong opposition to this out there, based on lack of research and also a debate over whether ‘mass medication’ affects our human rights. I will leave it to you to make up your own mind. Personally, I would much rather reduce my waste and drink from the tap.
There are always arguments on both sides. But for me, reducing waste and my impact on the planet, not to mention the impact on my bank balance, trumps all.
So, my friends, why not add a Jerry Bottle to your Christmas list and join me in the refill revolution?! We are so fortunate to have running water in our homes. So many countries in the world don’t have that luxury, so let’s not take it for granted. It’s there to be drunk, so drink it, bottle it, love it.