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Bottled vs. Tap Water

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Our nation likes to package things. From pre-maid meals to houses, we rely on factories

to do most things for us. The amount of oil and machines needed to run all these factories takes a

toll on our climate. And then we began to package something second only to air. Public drinking

water in the United States for the most part is perfectly good. Yet our country insists on buying

into the $425 billion yearly industry of bottling water that is destructive and harmful to our

environment and ourselves.1

In 2006, the average American consumed near 686 bottles of water. And in 2007 the

country drank fifty billion bottles of water alone.2 European water corporations such as Nestlé

and Perrier took the general view of polluted water and doubled it as a way to make people afraid

of public water.3 When people bought bottled water instead of using their taps, they fueled the

industry that is now at a similar level to oil in our economy.

These companies used negative advertising, making tap water look unsafe and

unsanitary, even though “more than 89 percent of tap water meets or exceeds federal health and

safety regulations, regularly wins in blind taste tests against name-brand waters, and costs 240 to

10,000 times less than bottled water” said Elizabeth Royte, author of Bottlemania: How Water

Flow. Dir. Irena Salina. Prod. Steven Starr. 09/12/08.

Royte, Elizabeth. "Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It | Water |
AlterNet." Home | AlterNet. Web. 29 Sept. 2010. <http://www.alternet.org/water/85859/>.

Flow. Dir. Irena Salina. Prod. Steven Starr. 09/12/08.

Went on Sale and Why We Bought It. Elizabeth also mentions in her book how Americans like

bottled water because it’s “private, portable, and individual.” Nothing seems more dirty than

drinking from a water fountain when you could be drinking from a bottle of water "Untouched

by Man" (Figi Bottled Water). What companies don’t tell the consumer is that most of their

water is just filtered tap water.
These advertisements and small lies are what made our nation afraid of tap water. Tested

daily, if not hourly by the EPA, most public drinking water is safe despite what some large

corporations might say. And the cost of one gallon of tap water is less than a penny, while the

price of a twelve ounce bottle can be anywhere from one dollar to three dollars. For the price of

that one bottle of water, you could have gotten one hundred and fifty gallons from your kitchen

Sure, the taste of tap water varies depending on the pipes it runs through or its source.

Public water facilities are tested frequently, while private water companies only have to be tested

anywhere from every week to once every four years. This difference is unfair, seeing as the

water for both public and private come from the same sources. Public waterworks are required to

publish any reports of contamination in the water to their consumers, and private companies are

not required to even put the source of their water on the bottles.4

While the water corporations advertise and pull in millions of consumers, the amount of

Conis, Elena. "Bottled versus Tap: Which Is Safer? - Los Angeles Times." Featured Articles
From The Los Angeles Times. 13 Oct. 2008. Web. 28 Sept. 2010. <http://articles.latimes.com/
2008/oct/13/health/he-nutrition13>.

waste made from bottles alone is substantial. On average, more than 6 million plastic bottles are

thrown out by Americans each year.5 These bottles are made of petroleum and natural gas, and

the average amount of oil used to make the number of plastic bottles in the U.S. is around 1.5

million barrels. That is enough oil to fuel 100,000 cars for a year. “Add in the substantial amount

of fuel used in transporting water, which is extremely heavy, and the impact on the environment

is anything but refreshing.”6

The Campaign for re-usable bottles has helped Americans see for themsleves how bad

plastic bottles are for the environment. If you went from drinking your eight or so glasses of

water from plastic bottles everyday to refilling your own, you would save over $1,400 every

year and keep thousands of plastic bottles out of landfills.7 With less oil and waste thrown

out, our water would be less polluted and safer for drinking. The money we save each year

could potentially go towards improving the public waterworks in our country and also towards

countries whose water supply is actually dangerous to drink.

“One, you can save money. And two, you don’t have to fill up landfills with plastic

bottles that are going to be there for 1,000 years after you’ve gone, not to mention the oil

Franklin, Pat. "News - Waste Management World - Down the Drain." Container Recycling
Institute. Web. 29 Sept. 2010. <http://www.container-recycling.org/media/newsarticles/plastic/
2006/5-WMW-DownDrain.htm>.

"In Praise of Tap Water - New York Times." The New York Times - Breaking News, World
News & Multimedia. 1 Aug. 2007. Web. 28 Sept. 2010. <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/01/
opinion/01wed2.html>.

"In Praise of Tap Water - New York Times." The New York Times - Breaking News, World
News & Multimedia. 1 Aug. 2007. Web. 28 Sept. 2010. <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/01/
opinion/01wed2.html>.

that’s used to make those bottles, to truck those bottles, to refrigerate those bottles, all to get a

product that is, give or take, the same thing you’re getting out of a tap.” said Mr. Yaverbaum of

Tappening, in an effort to turn Americans away from plastic bottles. Re-usable plastic will go a

long way.





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