Bottled Water’s Invisible Price Tag
Not all water is manufactured equally and I absolutely mean manufactured because over the past decades water has turned into a very profitable business — $4 billion strong. The fabulous business of bottled water grows steadily and abundantly as the average American consumes more bottled water than milk or beer — which you would think is a good thing. But is it?
The rise of bottled water dates back hundreds of years to spas in Europe where mineral water was the choice du jour because of its supposed health benefits. Later in areas where local tap water was generally accepted as unsuitable for drinking, drinking bottled water was considered necessary — which led to the creation of an international niche business.
Today the recommended eight glasses of water a day, when taken from a United States water tap costs about $.49 per year. The same amount of bottled water costs about $1,400.
So is spending a thousand times more for bottle water compared to tap water really worth it? Consider the following eight hidden costs of bottled water for both the planet and your health:
1. It takes 3-5 times MORE water to make a plastic bottle than it takes to fill it with water.
2. Making water bottles doesn’t just use up precious water, it also requires resources such as petroleum and electricity. Some estimates point to around 17 million barrels of oil are used to make plastic water bottles a year, which is enough to run 1.3 million cars and enough electrical energy to power 190,000 homes. Worse yet, manufacturing releases an estimated 2.5 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere in the process.
3. A study carried out by the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) found that 1/4 of all the water brands sold were contaminated at levels violating strict enforceable limits.
4. When used multiple times PET water bottles can leech out toxic chemical compounds that build up in the human body. The University of Goethe in Frankfurt, Germany study found up to 24,520 suspect chemicals in bottle water. Crazy!
5. In 2009, nearly 50% of all water bottled came from public water sources AKA tap water. Yes, they sold you water you could have gotten for free. Some of this water might have been treated but no clear details are known.
6. In the United States alone, we use around 5 BILLION water bottles per year. Have you thought about where they all go?
7. Studies estimate as high as 80% of the 5 billion bottles are used one time and are not recycled, ending up in landfills or, worse yet, our oceans and rivers.
8. A 2014 University of Connecticut study revealed that approximately 12% of the 5 trillion plastic pieces littering the ocean are plastic water bottles. These plastics take decades to break down, and depending on how they are broken down they can release toxic chemicals into their immediate environment.
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