Guest Column | August 13, 2015

No Room For Excuses; It's Time To Put Down The Plastic Bottles For Good

Mark LeChevallier

By Mark LeChevallier, principal and manager, Dr. Water Consulting, LLC

PlasticBottles

Did you know that more than 70% of plastic water bottles consumed by Americans end up in landfills? Wherever we go we see bottled water: school, work, the grocery store, and restaurants. But what you might not know is bottled water does more harm than just being waste, and using a re-fillable water bottle filled with tap water is better for your health, your wallet, and the environment.

 First of all, the price of bottled water is 300 times more expensive than tap water. By drinking tap water you’d be saving a lot of money. More than 25% of bottled water is simply tap water in a bottle, so you’re paying for something you can get out of your own tap anyway, and wasting plastic while doing it. 

In addition, the amount of energy to treat, bottle, transport, and chill the bottled water results in a carbon footprint that is hundreds to thousands of times higher than tap water.  The greenhouse gasses generated by the energy used in the production of the plastic bottles, shipping and transport, and refrigeration of the water contribute to global warming and climate change.  

Also, using disposable water bottles adds more plastic to landfills, which is really not something our planet needs. We need to start thinking about future generations and how our actions will affect their lives. 

Another misperception is that bottled water is safer or “more pure” than tap water.  Don’t get fooled into thinking that plastic bottled water is better than what you already have available at the tap. In fact, the federal government regulates tap water more strongly than it regulates bottled water. 

Clearly there are times where bottled water is the right or only choice, such as in emergency situations where tap water is unavailable or when you are choosing between bottled soft drinks or bottled water and want to make the healthier choice. But for drinking water on a regular basis, the best thing to do is to buy a refillable bottle and rely on your own tap water. 

The average American spends $150 a year on bottled water. Compare that to even a $40 metal reusable bottle and it simply doesn’t make sense to be wasteful. If every American stopped buying bottled water and instead filled their own bottles with tap water, just think about how much less plastic would be used, preserving the planet for future generations.

Image credit: "If I could save time in a plastic bottle..," frankieleon © 2011, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/