As you are surely aware, drinking plenty of water is vital to your health. Our bodies are made up of almost 60% water. Without water, the human body will shut down after just 3-4 days.
Thanks to the bottled water industry, we are constantly inundated with a barrage of messages promoting their product as the healthiest, freshest way to obtain this vital liquid. And we are listening. In 2011, Americans bought 9.1 billion gallons of bottled water, or over 29 gallons per person. (source: shor-tn.us/mm-bottledwaternumbers)
But is this really the best solution?
Here are some facts about bottled water that may shock you:
- Most bottled water is just tap water. That's right, most bottled water is simply obtained from the local municipal water source where the bottler is located. While some is purified or filtered, much of it is simply plain old tap water. Bottled water companies are restricted from using terms like "mineral water" and "artesian water" unless their water specifically comes from those sources, but you are not very likely to see a bottle of water that says, "bottled from tap water in downtown Cleveland." Which leads to our second point...
- The bottled water industry is loosely regulated. While municipal water quality is strictly controlled by the Environmental Protection Agency, bottled water processing is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA controls how foods and drinks are processed and stored, but bottled water regulation is quite lacking. There are quality standards in place; however, anyone can start a bottled water factory without FDA approval. The FDA only requires that water meet their standards, but testing is not mandatory. (Surprised? Read it for yourself directly from the FDA website: shor-tn.us/mm-fdawaterstandards)
- Bottled water is stored in plastic. Most bottled water is stored in plastic containers. While the containers are now generally BPA-free, the PET plastic used is not totally inert, and over time, especially when exposed to sunlight and heat, chemicals from the plastic can leach into the water. Yet the FDA does not require an expiration date on water at all!
- Yes, water bottles are recyclable, but... Thanks to an increasing concern about our environment and the realization that our supply of oil is finite and dwindling, most people are aware that they can recycle plastic water bottles, and many municipalities now offer recycling programs. That being said, the manufacturing, processing, recycling and remanufacturing of plastic water bottles still takes enormous amounts of energy that could simply be eliminated by switching to reusable containers.
- Bottled water is expensive! It's not hard to figure out that bottled water is expensive when you pay a dollar or more at a vending machine, but most people aren't aware just how staggering the cost of bottled water is compared to tap water. The average cost of municipal water in the United States is $1.50 per 1,000 gallons (or about .0015¢ per gallon) (shor-tn.us/mm-tapwatercost). Even if you buy bottled water in a 35-pack of liter bottles at Costco -- about the cheapest source available, you're still paying over 40¢ per gallon. That makes the cheapest bottled water you can find 2,667% more expensive than the average tap water!
Why so ridiculously expensive? Aside from the relatively small cost of bottling and packaging, water is heavy and costs money to transport to stores (which incidentally uses even more oil in the form of gasoline). But the majority of the cost of bottled water comes from advertising and plain old profit margin. Bottled water is a HUGE money maker for beverage companies!
If you truly don't like the taste of your city tap water or well water, invest in a water filtration system. You will pay some money up front, but the amount of money you save from filtering your own water will very quickly cover the cost of the filtration system. Most home filtration systems produce water for approximately 10-15¢ per gallon, depending on the amount and complexity of filtration required. Your filtered water will likely be cleaner and better tasting than bottled water, and the water will be freshly produced -- not stored in a plastic container for months on end. And perhaps most importantly, you'll help cut down on the amount of plastic generated by the bottled water industry.
M&M Plumbing carries a full line of sink-top, under-counter, and whole house water filtration systems that can handle just about any type of water problem. We install everything from single-stage filters to remove sediment to multi-stage, reverse osmosis and even UV treatment systems, depending on your needs. From simple taste and odor problems to more serious issues like lead, pesticide and cryptosporidium removal, we can install a system to make your water supply both safe and taste free.
And one final note: If you need to take water with you, simply buy some reusable water bottles to take with you. If you buy plastic, make sure they are BPA-Free. Or spend a little more money and get a stainless steel water bottle. There are even collapsible water bottles available that you can stick in your pocket or purse when they're empty. It's really not an inconvenience, and once you get used to the better, fresher taste and the savings on your pocketbook, we promise you'll quickly adapt.
If you have any questions about water filtration systems for your home or business, please contact us online or give us a call at 360-491-9422. We want to help you enjoy fresher water and save money.