The Why’s Behind Bottled Water
The first time I got quite angry about bottled water, was when I saw a guy with a shopping trolley filled with crates of bottled water, wrapped in yet more plastic packaging. Why?! Was our initial thought…
Something that really bugs me is seeing thousands of bottled water on the shelfs in supermarkets, tempting customers. Especially when we live in a country with access to clean drinking water from almost every tap in the country…
People are pushing trolleys full of water paying an absurd amount of money for a resource that is readily available at a fraction of the price. What makes this even more infuriating is seeing the destruction that plastic causes to the planet, all for the “convenience” of having it bottled.
So, I have to ask the question, why on earth do people buy bottled water?
When you can get drinkable and perfectly safe water in our British tap?
Indeed why, we wanted to find out more about the matter and really try and understand if there are any valuable reasons for drinking bottled water.
We found out that out of 13 billion plastic bottles used each year, 7.7 billion are plastic water bottles. Consumption of water in plastic bottles has doubled in the last 15 years according to the #OneLess Campaign. The average person in the UK will use 150 plastic water bottles every year. In London, usage is 175 plastic water bottles per person per year.
Of course with the growing number of campaigns to drink more water, healthy diets and trends encouraging you to drink more water it’s understandable why sales in bottled water have been growing.
In the UK, 5.5 billion plastic bottles escape household recycling collections every year. They are littered, landfilled or incinerated. Of these bottles, 55% (approximately 3 billion) are incinerated and 45% (approximately 2.5 billion) are sent to landfill every year.
Why the Hate Against Bottled Water?
Well first of all, the plastic… It’s single use – the bottle is used once and then it gets thrown away. A total of 5.5 billion water bottles are either incinerated or dumped in landfill in the UK every year.
That number is too big to imagine… So we will try to go smaller:
The UK daily wastage is roughly 15million bottles a day…
Okay, 15 million is still too hard to imagine, so I worked out the number of water bottles thrown away per second – ready? 174…
174 bottles each second!
That’s 870 bottles thrown away in the short space of time it took you to read this… This obviously begs the question, why the hell are we so dependent on plastic? Just 50 years ago, glass bottles were used and reused to help ship, store and sell liquid goods.
You would think it’s cheaper to manufacturer plastic bottles – actually, a glass bottle only costs about $0.01 more to produce glass bottles. Not that much, right?
The real cost is with the transportation of the goods, the weight of the bottled water which is on average 180 grams heavier than a plastic bottle. Heavier goods mean more labour costs, care during transportation and due diligence in the process. Hence why the plastic bottle wins…
There are issues with glass bottles too… Not environmental, but mainly due to the inconvenience of it as it’s much heavier than plastic. If you drop it, it will break and your water will be gone. It comes down to the convenience of it – it would be a lot heavier for you to carry a half-litre glass bottle, than a plastic one.
Imagine being on holiday, hot sunny day exploring a city – the last thing you’ll want is extra weight on your back with a glass bottle… But hey! Not all of you, you might not mind the extra weight and carry that glass bottle and we salute you ?
Why do People Actually Drink Bottled Water?
It’s mainly down to the clever marketing campaigns, the healthy and clean people bouncing around on your tv and shaking their plastic water bottle in your face as you scroll through your phone.
They are advertised as healthier, cleaner, with more vitamins and minerals and whatever else they can think of…
But it’s 100 x times more expensive than tap water.
Bottled water is advertised on the television, magazines, radio and posters. It’s everywhere, this magical drink that replenishes vital minerals within your body.
You often see athletes drinking bottled water claiming it is their fuel when exercising and it’s the reason they reached the top.
It’s almost as if it was the special water in Space Jam (a true classic by the way), unfortunately there is nothing special about the bottled water. It must be the taste then as surely it will taste cleaner.
The Taste Argument
I personally cannot tell the difference between tap water and bottled. In fact as many as 90% or 9 out of 10 people cannot tell the difference! The reason why tap water might taste strange when you first pour it in your glass is due to the tiny amount of chlorine that hasn’t yet evaporated from the water.
So if you left your glass of water for around 30 mins, the chlorine does eventually evaporate and the taste some find odd, disappears.
It’s worth adding however, that this level of chlorine isn’t bad for you, it’s a really small and safe amount that is safe to drink – otherwise authorities would not class it as drinkable water as they would be putting people’s lives at risk.
We can safely say that the majority of people are not buying it for the taste. I believe the main reason of bottled is being bought, is due to the back and fourth arguments about tap water not being clean, arguments about chlorine, or how it isn’t safe to drink hard water.
All those reasons have counter arguments, but the only fact that remains true is that plastic is damaging our planet and our home.
How Clean is Your Tap Water?
Tap water in the UK is one of the cleanliest sources of water in the world.
A quick look online and you’ll discover the UK has strict guidelines to follow about the quality of water that it serves. Discover Water has some great information and facts on tap water in the UK, from the costs to the impact on the environment, everything is made legally to see by the government.
One of the most interesting facts is that the quality of British water is 99.95%. Yay!
We know that what’s inside the bottle is the same drinking water available from your tap. It shouldn’t even be a choice whether you pay for a bottle of water, or refill your stainless steel bottle for free at any water filling station, pub, kitchen, restaurant or even petrol station.
If you aren’t too sure about the quality of your tap water, you can test it with a FREE Water Testing Kit using our affiliate link below:Free Water Test
Freebies With Your Bottled Water!
Bottled water comes with an extremely small freebie…micro-plastics. YAY (not)!!
In 2018 It was found that big branded water companies such as Nestle had on average 10.4 plastic particles in every litre of their bottled water. Whereas in the UK water that had been treated at a plant had 0.00011 microplastics per litre.
Now here starts a vicious circle, we can continue using bottled water, merely turning our heads to the 10.4 micro-plastics as it’s such a low number.
From the moment the water is poured into a plastic bottle, to the moment it lands in your hands and is finally opened, the plastic bottle can release tiny bits of micro-plastic into the water inside that bottle.
Drinking micro-plastics isn’t something our bodies would welcome – so there’s at least one reason why bottled water isn’t the healthiest choice.
There is of course the issue of plastic pollution and plastic waste – which we explore in this blog post.
The continued use would gradually keep increasing the micro-plastics not only in our drinking water but also the rivers and oceans. Or we can take a stance against “convenience” or entitlement (laziness) and buy a stainless-steel bottle and keep it topped up on your journeys.
Stainless Steel Bottle
They keep your water cold for up to 24 hours – so even in the summer while you leave your water in the car or backpack, you won’t return to warmed up liquid on a hot summers day.
You can get them is maaaany different patterns and colours and sizes, making drinking water more fun woo! You can even get a personalised bottle with your name on it – we found quite a few colourful and more neutral options here on Etsy or Amazon. There’s something for everyone, even for big unicorn and kitty cat fans…
If you are out and about and forgot to your stainless steel bottle, there’s also the recent option of canned water! Something Boomtown Festival really embraced in 2019 and the only water available was from a tap and canned if you wanted to buy it.
By the way, it’s amazing going to a festival and supporting them when they put so much effort into sustainable ways of working and providing green options… Support what you believe in.
If you like fizzy water like Aggie, there is also a solution for that. One that is more cost efficient and maybe more fun too? Anyway, it doesn’t involve endless amounts of plastic bottles that’s for sure… You can use a siphon that you can buy online e.g. Amazon.
If you are living in a country where water from the tap is not safe to drink, of course we are not encouraging you to drink tap water. You must drink what is safe, whether that’s filtered or bottled water.
Bear this in mind as well when travelling to another country, it is always best to check that the tap water is safe to drink there.
In Our Humble Conclusion
Unless you live in a country where water is not safe to drink from the tap, we can’t think of one good reason to buy bottled water. Not one. If you’re conscious about the environment and sustainable ways of living, you shouldn’t even consider buying bottled water.
Get yourself a nice coloured stainless steel bottle and carry it with you everywhere you go. As more and more places now have refills stations available, making it easier to keep yourself hydrated anywhere you go.
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