We spend more than $15 billion a year on bottled water in the United States. Bottles of water costs up to several dollars a gallon (and more for designer brands). Tap water, on the other hand, is delivered directly to homes and offices for less than a penny a gallon.
From the Earth Policy Institute:
In contrast to tap water, which is delivered through an energy-efficient infrastructure, bottled water is an incredibly wasteful product. It is usually packaged in single-serving plastic bottles made with fossil fuels. Just manufacturing the 29 billion plastic bottles used for water in the United States each year requires the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of crude oil.Fortunately, there is a movement toward tap water. More from the Earth Policy Institute:
After being filled, the bottles may travel far. Nearly one quarter of bottled water crosses national borders before reaching consumers, and part of the cachet of certain bottled water brands is their remote origin. Adding in the Pacific Institute’s estimates for the energy used for pumping and processing, transportation, and refrigeration, brings the annual fossil fuel footprint of bottled water consumption in the United States to over 50 million barrels of oil equivalent-enough to run 3 million cars for one year. If everyone drank as much bottled water as Americans do, the world would need the equivalent of more than 1 billion barrels of oil to produce close to 650 billion individual bottles.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors, which represents some 1,100 American cities, discussed at its June 2007 meeting the irony of purchasing bottled water for city employees and for city functions while at the same time touting the quality of municipal water. The group passed a resolution sponsored by Mayors Gavin Newsom of San Francisco, Rocky Anderson of Salt Lake City, and R. T. Rybak of Minneapolis that called for the examination of bottled water’s environmental impact. The resolution noted that with $43 billion a year going to provide clean drinking water in cities across the country, “the United States’ municipal water systems are among the finest in the world.”So how easy a choice is this to make: by choosing to forgo bottled water and instead drink from the tap, you can save money and reduce waste and fuel consumption. I call that a no-brainer.