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4 Things to Know Before You Buy Bottled Water

Maybe you buy bottled water and keep it in the fridge for guests. Maybe you only drink it occasionally, when you make a quick stop at a convenience store. Or perhaps you keep it regularly stocked because you don’t like the taste of your tap water. It’s certainly a popular beverage, with twelve billion gallons bottled and sold in the United States in 2012. But have you ever thought about where your bottled water comes from? Bottled water has been touted as being cleaner, healthier, and generally better than tap water, but is it really?

Bottled Water Isn’t Necessarily Better Water. Some brands, such as Arrowhead and Crystal Geyser, source their water from natural springs, but that isn’t always the case. Both Dasani and Aquafina are simply selling treated tap water. While that may be a more environmentally friendly method since natural springs aren’t being affected, it means that you’re paying a high dollar amount for the same thing you could be getting out of your kitchen sink. The statistics seem to fluctuate depending on the source, but somewhere between 25 and 45 per cent of bottled water comes from municipal resources.

Watch the Labeling. If the label says “spring water,” the EPA requires that the water does actually come from either a natural spring or one with a manmade access. Other terms that are commonly used, such as “mountain water” or “glacier water”, are not regulated. They’re used as advertisement but are not a guarantee as to the source.

Know Your Plastics. While there has been considerable controversy about the safety of plastic water bottles, most of them are made of PET (polyethylene terephtalate) plastic. It’s labeled with a number 1 surrounded by a recycling symbol on the bottom or side of the bottle. It’s generally considered safe for one-time use, but some research has shown that all plastics leach chemicals in one form or another. The safest bet is to only use these bottles once and don’t allow them to be exposed to heat.

Two water bottles. Isolated on white background

What about the Waste? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, only about 20% of water bottles are recycled in the United States. Considering the billions that are used, that still leaves a large volume of recyclable plastic heading for the landfills on a regular basis. Drinking local tap water is also more environmentally friendly considering the energy and resources required for manufacturing and shipping bottled water.

The bottom line on bottled water is that the information available is not always as clear as the water itself. If you have concerns about where your water comes from, what impact it has on the environment, and what chemicals might be present in the container, it might be best to avoid bottled water in general. Water filtration systems can easily be installed right in your own home, providing good taste and removing chemicals. If you think your home needs better water, call A&W Plumbing!