Bottled, Filtered, or Tap: Rethink What You Drink

Photo: dibytes When it comes to drinking water, the difference between bottled and tap, in most instances, isn’t much. But as the popularity of the packaged version grows, we must ask ourselves why this type of H2O is often chosen over water that comes directly from the spigot? With misleading names that often depict a serene or “pure” source it is easy to lose track of why we choose to drink bottled water in the first place, but do not be fooled, this version often comes from the company’s local water source.

Photo: Kristoffer M.C.

Granted, some bottled water comes from pristine springs or other unadulterated sources, but at least 25% of it comes from the municipal supply. The water is purified, and sold as is, usually at a mark-up that reaches well into the thousands. As of late, the FDA, which oversees the quality control of the bottled water industry, has enforced many name-brand companies to state on the bottle that the water inside the packaging is sourced from public supplies. Most everyone has a personal preference of which water they enjoy. To help you make an educated decision on which type of H2O is best for you, read the following pros and cons of each type. 

Bottled water: Bottled aqua is often chosen over water that comes from the faucet when the tap possess objectionable flavors or odors. In regards to chemical or bacteriological safety though, public H20 is better regulated and tested more frequently.  The environmental impact plastic water bottles have on the earth is due to waste and uncertainty over the long-term health effects created by plastic. Bottles used to package water can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade and if burned, they produce toxic fumes. It is estimated that over 80% of all single-use water bottles used in the United States become trash. Have I mentioned costs? Bottled water costs 2,000 times more than tap water. However, in spite of all the negative facts associated with drinking aqua from a plastic container there are reasons to keep bottled water around, it’s handy in case of an emergency, and if you get thirsty while out and about it is a better alternative to sugary drinks.

Tap water: Tap water is inexpensive, averaging around a penny a gallon. Most city water contains fluoride which helps build strong bones and teeth. Plus, it’s effortless, always available, and doesn’t involve adding thousands of potentially harmful plastic bottles to local landfills. If you don’t like the taste of spigot water use a purifier, or add lemon and ice to your drink.

Photo courtesy of New Wave Enviro Products

Filtered water: Using a filter can enhance the flavor of tap water. From an off taste to lead contamination from the pipes, your faucet's H2O may have picked up a foul taste, odor, or contaminant on its way to you. Using a water purifier is more expensive then tap, but a good deal cheaper then drinking packaged water. If you purchase a seizing pitching, like Brita or Pur, the costs runs around $20.00. A sink side 10-stage water purifier from New Wave Enviro Products averages $99.00 with 1 year replacement cartridges costing $70.00, but considering how much money spent annually on water bottles these prices are a steal.

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