By Molly Connell:
The bottled water industry is a profitable business for the companies involved. In the United States, 11.7 billion gallons of bottled water are drunk annually — enough to fill the Empire State Building 42 times. This consumption makes bottled water a $170 billion business, which theoretically should not exist. The majority of those who consume bottled water do so without having a reason. People with access to perfectly clean and controlled tap water spend a great deal of money on bottled water.
Access to clean water is a human right. In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly recognized the right to clean drinking water as a human right; however, currently two billion people live without access to clean drinking water. For these people, bottled water is a necessity, but why do Americans drink over 36 gallons of bottled water annually on average when 90% of us have access to water that meets all health standards?
On one hand, there’s a common belief that bottled water tastes better. When tested, though, those people who were asked to drink tap and bottled water without knowing which one was which preferred the taste of tap water. Another main reason why people consume bottled water is that they assume bottled water is healthier. However, this is also false. Surprisingly, U.S. tap water is more strictly controlled than bottled water and, therefore, is of higher quality.
The only argument left that could explain why we would still want to drink bottled water is because it’s practical: it’s a healthy choice compared to soft drinks; you can easily take it with you; and you also can keep track of how much you have drunk. While all this is true, is comfort worth the environmental damage we cause by drinking bottled water?
Every single day we use 79 million PET bottles, and water bottles make up a big part of that. To produce PET bottles, we use valuable resources and generate a huge amount of plastic waste. During the bottle production process, we use oil, coal, natural gas and — believe it or not — water, and emit a disturbing amount of CO2. Even after drinking the water, the bottles cause a big problem: since only about 30% of PET bottles are recycled, they make plastic pollution more severe, further contaminating the soil and the oceans.
Take a look at this infographic to find out more about the hidden costs of bottled water. After reading it, you will be convinced: bottled water is just not worth it!
Molly Connell is responsible for Online Marketing at TradeMachines. As a member of the Berlin-based, fast-growing online start-up company which provides a metasearch website for used industrial equipment, her job is enhance brand awareness and visibility.