The earth is the only place we humans have to live, so it makes sense for each of us to do our part to keep the machine of nature running smoothly. Unfortunately, people have a tendency to gum up the works, especially when it comes to the perception, and the misconception, of bottled water.
Everyone knows that bottled water is better for us than tap water. Right?
Well, maybe not. As it turns out, tap water in the United States is perfectly drinkable in almost all cases, is as clean as bottled water, is already paid for by our taxes, and does not require the manufacturing of plastic bottles, something that contributes to pollution and the carbon footprint, even if we are recycling the bottles themselves.
Still the cunning bottled water industry has convinced us that bottled water is the way to go. According to Jude Isabella, a science writer for post-gazette.com, “Americans are conned to the tune of $15 billion,” consuming some “8 billion gallons annually,” and that ironically “tap water may actually be cleaner.” Isabella says that “researchers found that some bottled water contains more bacteria than tap water” and that “more than 70 percent of the popular brands tested […] failed to meet bacterial standards set by the United States Pharmacopeia.”
Doesn’t sound so good. Also of note is that companies may use water that comes from local utilities, as is the case with Coca Cola’s Dasani brand. Furthermore, the FDA, which regulates the industry, does not “require bottled water companies to disclose where [their] water comes from, how it is treated or what contaminants it contains.”1
I have longed believed that bottled water was healthier for me, but now I realize I’ve been sold a product, not a solution. What can I do for Earth day? It’s hardly a stretch for me to walk over to my filtered tap, pour out a glass, pop in a few ice cubes and drink until sated. It’s also not hard to acquire an aluminum water canister for when I need water on the go. As it turns out Earth day need not be a strain on my activist muscles or my wallet, especially when it comes to the choices I make about water consumption.
And it also sounds good to me, especially in these difficult economic times, that filtered tap water only costs pennies a day. And we all know how expensive bottled water can be. According to Isabella, we are in fact paying “up to 36 times more for bottled water.” 1 And for what? More pollution, more greenhouse gases, more inconvenience, and an abrogation of our personal responsibility to do our part to keep the machinery running smoothly.
When it comes to my daily eight glasses, earth day can be every day.