|I was trying to think of a simple, inexpensive green resolution that everyone can do, and I think I’ve got it. Here it is: Drink more water, and by that I mean drink more tap water.
There are many reasons why tap water is better than bottled, and here are just a few:
Tap water is safer – A recent study by the Environmental Working Group found a surprising array of chemical contaminants in every brand of bottled water they tested. Unlike tap water, where consumers are provided with test results every year (for example, the Orange County Water District tests water from more than 1,400 locations analyzing more than 18,000 samples each year), the bottled water industry does not disclose the results of any contaminant testing. In addition, there is increasing evidence of adverse health effects tied to Bisphenol A, or BPA, a widely used chemical in the manufacturing of plastic polycarbonate bottles, including water bottles.
Tap water is better for the environment – Americans use an estimated 25 billion single-serving plastic water bottles each year. Eight out of 10 of these bottles will end up in a landfill or littering our roads, rivers and waterways. In fact, every plastic water bottle ever produced is still around today. In addition to the plastic waste, there is significant waste in the delivery system. In contrast to tap water, which is distributed through an energy-efficient infrastructure, transporting bottled water long distances involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels. A better solution? Just walk over to the tap (or water filter) at home and fill up your glass.
Tap water is significantly less expensive – Bottled water can cost up to 10,000 times more than tap. At as much as $10 per gallon, it will cost you more than filling up your tank. If you don’t like the taste of your tap water, invest in a basic water filter or filtration system. For drinking on the go, consider purchasing a reusable water bottle. My recommendation is the Klean Kanteen bottle. I like it because it’s durable, affordable and safe. Also, consider that a water filter and reusable bottle are a one-time expense. If you just stopped using one plastic water bottle per day, you would save about $200 per person per year.
At my house, we fill up our water bottles each night and put them in the fridge. When we take them with us the next day, the water stays cold for hours and tastes great – no plastic taste in the bottle, and I feel good knowing the water is safe for my kids, even if it sits out in the sun. And my kids actually do bring their reusable bottles home. We haven’t lost one yet. Kids can be responsible for taking care of things. We don’t have to make everything disposable for them – though you may want to write their name on the bottom with a permanent marker. That helps bring the bottle back if it does get lost.
So, there’s my suggestion for a simple, affordable green resolution for 2009. Everyone can do it – save money, save time, be healthier, be greener – all from making the simple switch from bottled to tap water!