Last month I posted an article about a rural Australian town that banned the sale of bottled water. That's pretty extreme, but it does bring up some things to think about concerning the way we regard bottled water.
Bottled water costs almost 2,000 times more than tap water, but people continue to buy it. Why? Some people think it's safer, cleaner or simply because it tastes better. Two recent studies—one by the Government Accountability Office, the other by the Environmental Working Group—shed some light on the issue.
Bottled water is regulated by the FDA, which does not require companies to disclose sources, use certified labs, or report failures of water quality tests. The EPA mandates that public water systems do all of those, and more.
Check out this chart that sums up some of the differences between the regulation of tap water versus that of bottled water.
As far as environmental impact goes, a direct comparison of drinking water from the tap with bottled water shows the environmental impact of tap water is approximately only one fourth of that of bottled water, according to Treehugger.com.
I carry an aluminum reusable water bottle these days, and I refuse to buy bottle water. We live in one of the few countries that actually have perfectly safe tap water, so there's no reason not to drink it. If it's the taste of tap water, invest in a water filter—Alex and I have one at home, and it pays for itself since you're not buying bottled water.
Creative Commons photo by Gabriel_Not from Flickr