Is Tap Water Better Than Bottled Water?

YES. If not better than, it is equal to… more often than not the water itself is the same. The 3 top corporations producing over 50% of America’s bottled water (Nestle, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi) have admitted to bottling from the same source as tap water. These 3 companies have local operations all over our country under regional names*. They are water mining from free local sources to turn around and make a profit from the same community they are extracting it from. Because of packaging, toxins leaching into the water from the bottle, the overall environmental impact, and lack of regulations TAP WATER IS SUPERIOR.

*Nestle= Poland Springs, Deer Park, Zephyrhills, Ozarks, Ice Mountain, and Arrowhead- dependent on region. 

Basic Information about Tap:

Tap water is tested regularly multiple times per day. Public city water is tested 3 or more times every day. In contrast, bottled water is tested 1 time per week. There have been recalls with ‘high end’ brands… contaminants were found by independent studies. In fact, the FDA only requires bottled water companies to test the water quality if it is transported for sale over state lines. And 60-70% of bottled water is sold in the state it is ‘mined’ from. Bottled water is not heavily regulated while tap water is regulated by the EPA, to guarantee clean and safe drinking water for the public.

Water mining is a business in which large corporations steal water from local communities, where they dig or well water to the point where the locals can no longer access it. Then they sell it to that same community in a bottle who now has to depend on bottled water because they have no other option. The corporations continue to mine water throughout draughts where the community is restricted from their own usage.

Check your Tap Water results:

Tap water contaminants range by region and there are many ways to test your own water source and filter appropriately when necessary. You can test your own water or CLICK HERE and enter your zip code and select your provider. Below the result is a table to compare a few filter options. I recommend filtering your tap water with Binchotan Charcoal sticks. Not only will they purify the water but these sticks also add minerals back to the water. Of course, you might need more filters than this depending on the test results of your local tap.  If you choose Brita, they have a recycling program with Terracycle and will reward you with discounts for keeping them out of landfills!

It is essential to filter and purify all water- bottled or tap;
there are many chemicals and run-off contaminants in the majority of water sources of the World.

Mineral Water:

Up to 60% of the human body is made up of water. These same filter chemicals used to purify our water are also stripping the essential minerals and nutrients from our bodies. The Charcoal sticks add minerals back, if you can find a natural spring to collect water- that is ideal. I personally have to drink a can of sparkling mineral water daily. Studies are still inconclusive in regards to mineral water being better for you- and I assume it would have to do with the available public water source. Generally, the top mineral(s) most present in mineral water is:
magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, bicarbonate, and sodium.

Mineral water is bottled directly at the source, underground. I choose aluminum cans and carbonated mineral water. CO2 limits bacterial growth and eliminates any toxic elements. And as I will discuss further, drinking from plastic- whether it be water or something other, is overall not only bad for the planet but also detracts from the health benefits bottled water promises.

IS TAP WATER BETTER THAN BOTTLED WATER?

As it pertains to America, our tap water is safe to drink and tested more regularly than bottled water. Tap water is just as safe if not safer- not only because of the more regulated testing but also because it is not poured directly into freshly heated plastics. Whenever you drink from a plastic source, you are risking consuming the chemicals used to create the bottle. Toxins slowly leach into the water (just like frozen meals in the black trays).

It is particularly important to pay attention to packaging as it pertains to consumables especially as we see a rise in micro-plastics and nano-plastics infiltrating the Globe. It is inevitable and we are already consuming plastics in our food source- ESPECIALLY when consuming fish. This is detrimental to our health and we need to be more aware and aim to not only consume less but reduce the never-ending cycle, too.

IS TAP WATER BETTER THAN BOTTLED WATER FOR HEALTH?

This is a loaded question. Words such as “safe”, “pure”, “healthy”, and “clean” are used in ads for bottled water alongside images of a healthy lifestyle. As if to say the alternative (tap) is not just as healthy, pure, clean, and safe. There is no guarantee that bottled water is safer than what comes from your tap. Again, the water itself is much the same- coming from the exact same source. So, then why is tap water better than bottled water? This is where the bottle part matters. The plastic bottles that contain the “healthier” water are toxic.

Health Problems:

The bottle itself is made from Crude oil (PET1). The plastic resin of PET is considered better than BPA for many reasons- but we do not know the long-term effects as of yet. What we do know, based on the community surrounding the PET plant in Corpus Christi, TX. is the chemicals in their soil, air, and water are toxic. The PET factory is killing the community surrounding it. The locals are developing cancer as a result and there is also an increase in birth defects. If this is happening by proximity, you can bet it’s happening by direct contact as well.

The large 5-gallon water tanks are still produced with BPA plastic which is known to be linked to many health hazards and is toxic to the human brain. This includes: infertility, birth defects, and behavioral issues in kids. By drinking bottled water you are choosing to not only risk your own health but the health of others in the surrounding community where this plastic is produced.

When is Bottled Water Necessary?

What we do know is tap is better for the environment and most likely just as good, if not better, for you. Of course, there was the Flint, MI. crisis. The local water source was changed from a treated plant (deriving water from Lake Huron and the Detroit River) to the Flint River. Residents noticed changes in the water immediately: color, taste, smell… Within 5 years, 9 people died as they continued to pump this water into the taps. The water was not treated properly and the pipes were leaking lead into the tap.

Stay aware of your community and if something doesn’t seem right, look into it further. There are certain times bottled water is essential. For instance, when a natural disaster strikes that causes the local tap water to be unsafe or limited. That being said, consuming bottled water regularly is actually harming you, your community, and the planet.  

IS TAP WATER BETTER THAN BOTTLED WATER FOR THE PLANET?

Drinking tap water is better for the environment, too. Unfortunately, not everyone in America has access to recycle and many of these single-use bottles end up in the trash or littered on hiking trails and in our water sources. The world on average recycles 50% of beverage bottles; the US recycles under 20%. They slowly break down into tiny pieces where they are then consumed by animals and make their way back to the food chain where we then consume plastic directly- in our water or foods. 94% of our water in America contains micro-plastics. If you think bottled water would prevent that, you’re wrong. In fact, it is quite the opposite in both short and long-term perspectives.

Based on the packaging included, a 16.9 oz. bottle of water requires at least 6x that amount of clean water to produce. 75% of our planet is water and less than 1% is drinkable. With the bottled water industry that 1% is quickly shrinking. In addition to the excess water used to produce bottled water, it also demands oil.  

In 2009, Tapped- the documentary revealed that “Plastic water bottle manufacturing uses 714 million gallons of oil every year…. that is enough to fuel 100,000 cars.” This has continuously increased year after year as bottled water is gaining even more demand.

STOP BUYING BOTTLED WATER FOR EVERYDAY USE.

Finally, water is said to be the new empire. Much like oil, it’s a natural resource. However, unlike oil, it is essential to human life. It is a basic right, an essential need; A commodity not to be sold. We all need access to free and clean water. Without bottled water, we have a better chance of achieving that. We need to change the trajectory of this industry. It is continuously climbing and we need to decrease the demand before it’s too late. In 2015, the World Bank valued the world water market at $800 billion.

If you have not heard of water mining, check out Tapped. You can stream it free on Amazon Prime or  PlutoTV without a subscription.

“The world has enough for everyone’s needs, but not everyone’s greed,”

Mahatma Gandhi

Actionable list:

  • Watch: Tapped, Blue Gold, and Flow: For Love of Water- all on Amazon Prime. Tapped is also free on PlutoTV without a subscription.
  • Stop buying bottled water out of convenience. Instead, buy and keep a water bottle on you to fill for free from filtered sources. Clean Canteen and Swell make great stainless steel options that keep your drink hot or cold all day. Yeti is amazing, but typically still has a plastic component. Better yet, drink from a glass jar or upcycled container you already own. Copper, glass, stainless steel, and aluminum are all great materials to drink from! NEVER REUSE A DISPOSABLE PLASTIC BOTTLE.
  • Purchase a water filter for your home. Change the filter in your fridge. Recycle the filter properly- check to see if the brand has a discount close loop system like Brita.
  • Ask local store owners to stop selling bottled water. To instead sell a water bottle with their brand and a filtered tap filling station- to fill the bottle for free or at a reduced rate compared to bottled. This will bring business into their store when people come inside to fill up AND keep plastic bottles from contaminating the community.
  • Fill up water jugs at natural food stores. Most of these stores have a Fresh Pure water machine that filters tap as you fill your containers. I know this was essential for my short stint in San Antonio. Bring glass containers- such as a growler or upcycled juice/wine jugs.
  • Travel tip: bring an empty bottle into the airport and fill up at Starbucks! Starbucks offers both hot or cold filtered water FOR FREE. This extends to road trips, too! [You can also fill up at gas station fountain machine.]
  • WeTap.org is a site and an app for LA locals to find free clean safe drinking fountains around the city.

Improve the World Everyday through regular action.

For more ways to be sustainable in your home, to reduce overall plastic, and be better for our planet. Check out this post where I lay out a digestible plan to be low-waste.

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