What is the best bottled water? Here are 5 reasons why the best bottled water to drink is NONE at all! For the sake of your personal health, savings account, integrity (do you like being taken for a fool by multibillion-dollar corporations!?), and the environment.
And don’t worry: we’ll also discuss the healthiest source of safe, clean drinking water both at home and on-the-go.
Nice clean water: it’s a basic human necessity.
Plus, nothing’s more off-putting than your drinking water being reminiscent of a swimming pool.
Shall I take a sip or go put my swimsuit on?
Unfortunately, most of our public drinking water nowadays contains unhealthy contaminants and chemicals.
Environmental pollutants, bacteria and viruses, prescription and over-the-counter medications, and even byproducts of the water treatment system itself.
According to the nonprofit organization Environmental Working Group,
When most Americans drink a glass of tap water, they’re also getting a dose of industrial or agricultural contaminants linked to cancer, brain and nervous system damage, developmental defects, fertility problems or hormone disruption.
Just a little concerning, huh?
And so it’s no wonder why so many people turn towards bottled water.
I get it. Truly, I’m not here to pass judgement. Heck, having grown up during the 1990s bottled water boom, the concept of drinking tap water was completely foreign to me for most of my life!
The bottom line is that we all just want safe, clean drinking water for ourselves and our loved ones.
Unfortunately, we’ve been fooled into thinking bottled water is the best source of safe, clean drinking water.
According to Business Insider,
The U.S. drank 9 billion gallons of bottled water in 2008, at an average of 30 gallons per person.
That’s about 227 of the standard 500 mL or 16.9 oz water bottles per person each year.
While we do keep bottled water in our house in case of an emergency like an earthquake (we do live in CA after all) or a zombie apocalypse, bottled water should not be your go-to beverage option or source of drinking water.
Bottled water is NOT the best option for your health, your savings account, or the environment. Here’s why.
1) About half of all bottled water IS tap water. And yet it’s not nearly as strictly regulated as tap water.
According to Food And Water Watch, almost half of all bottled water is tap water.
But while tap water is regulated by the EPA — which requires municipalities to have their water quality tested annually by certified laboratories and then provide the results to the public, requires regular testing for e. coli, and requires the water source to be disclosed — bottled water, is regulated by the FDA and does not have to adhere to any of these standards.
According to the US Government Accountability Office (a government agency that provides auditing, evaluation, and investigative services for the United States Congress),
FDA does not have the specific statutory authority to require bottlers to use certified laboratories for water quality tests or to report test results, even if violations of the standards are found.
So even if high levels of contaminants are found in the water, companies do not need to report the test results. They can just carry on with business as usual!
To summarize: about half of all bottled water IS just tap water packaged in little plastic bottles, and the regulatory standards for bottled water is far less strict than those of tap water — bottled water doesn’t even need to be tested for e. coli!
2) The plastic bottles leach unhealthy chemicals into the water… which we eventually drink.
So is bottled water unhealthy!? I would say yes.
Studies have found that some of the chemicals found in bottled water are either well-known carcinogens or are known to cause obesity, diabetes, brain disorders, liver disease, ovarian disease, low sperm count, and more. (source)
A 2018 study of 259 bottles of water from 11 different brands from plastic particles in 94% of the samples with an average of 325 plastic particles for every liter of water being sold. (source)
In one bottle of Nestlé Pure Life, concentrations were as high as 10,000 plastic pieces per liter of water!
The most common types of plastic found were polypropylene and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which are the main types of plastics used in water bottle caps and the bottles themselves. (source)
To summarize: plastics are made with a number of unhealthy chemicals that leach into (and so pollute) the water within the bottle.
3) Bottled water is a gigantic ripoff.
Do you like being taken for a fool? I don’t!
Bottled water costs more than gasoline and is sold to us at 1,900 times the price of municipal tap water.
Yet I repeat: almost half of all bottled water IS simply municipal tap water that has simply been packaged in little plastic bottles that pollute our planet and bodies!
Meanwhile the the large soda corporations that dominate the 800 billion dollar bottled water industry are laughing all the way to the bank.
To summarize: bottled water costs 1,900 times more than tap water while not necessarily being any healthier!
4) Single-use plastic water bottles are a major source of plastic pollution.
In America alone, 1,500 bottles of water are consumed every second.
Only 20% of all plastic water bottles are recycled.
3 billion pounds of plastic water bottles end up in landfills each year.
According to the United Nations, plastic pollution kills an estimated 1 million marine birds and 100,000 marine animals each year. And according to Plymouth University, almost 700 species of marine life are facing extinction as a direct result of plastic pollution.
Though the effects of plastic on human health are mostly (80%) from food and beverage packaging rather than environmental plastic pollution, we must remember that we simply cannot be healthy if we live in a polluted, unhealthy environment. Period.
To summarize: plastic pollution is a growing and serious environmental threat, and bottled water is a significant contributor.
5) Bottled water contributes to climate change.
[And yes, climate change IS very real.]
Most single-use plastic water bottles are made with PET or PETE, which is derived from crude oil. In fact, 80% of all PET plastics manufactured in the US is used by soda manufacturers, including their bottled water products.
Plastic water bottle manufacturing uses 714 million gallons of oil every year, enough oil to fuel 100,000 cars.
In addition to consuming our natural resources to make the bottles, the entire bottled water process uses fuel for energy: energy to transport the water, energy to filter it (if they do filter it), energy to bottle the water, energy to label and box the bottles, energy to ship the bottles, etc. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that the energy required to bring a typical 1-liter bottle of water to a US consumer is 1,100 to 2,000 times higher than the energy cost of producing tap water. And all of this energy inevitably releases greenhouse gasses and other pollutants.
To summarize: plastic water bottle production requires crude oil and the entire bottled water production process is estimated to use 1,100-2,000 times more energy than tap water.
Did I burst your plastic-water-bottle bubble!?
(I sure hope so!)
Don’t worry — there is a better solution than bottled water. It’s simple: invest in a fantastic water filter and a reusable water bottle.
Check out my guide to The Best Water Filters for Your Whole House, Kitchen, Shower & Bath to find which option is best for your home, budget, and lifestyle.
And remember: while a high-quality water filter is a larger upfront cost, it’s actually far more economical in the long-run (bottled water ain’t free!).
As far as reusable water bottles go, my vote is for glass — I’ve had both this 22-oz Lifefactory bottle and this small 9-oz Lifefactory bottle (it fits in even the smallest of my purses) — or stainless steel. And lot of people love these BKR glass water bottles which are a really sleek looking and also come in a variety of colors and sizes.
Now you may be thinking: what about when I’m traveling or not at home?
As you’ll see in my guide, there’s an AMAZING filtered water bottle option: the GRAYL Ultralight Water Bottle with Filter. It’s so well designed and smart — other filtered water bottles usually require you to suck through a straw or mouthpiece attached to a filter which slows the flow of water and can get really frustrating, but GRAYL bottles work like a French press to filter an entire bottle of water in just 15 seconds. Plus, of all the filtered water bottle options I’ve researched it filters the most contaminants by far.
And if you ever find yourself in a dire situation where you’re faced with purchasing bottled water or else risking dehydration or Montezuma’s revenge: of course, go on and buy the bottled water! But hopefully it won’t ever come to that with your GRAYL in hand.
So what do you think? Ready to ditch bottled water once and for all?
Have any questions about choosing the best water filter for your needs? Please join the conversation in the comments below!