Water is essential to both our survival and health, but what is the best way to drink it? Bottled water has become more popular these past few years due to its convenience and better taste. In fact, according to pubmed.gov, in the United States, each person drinks approximately 30 gallons of bottled water per year. However, many people are concerned about bottled water’s possible environmental and health impacts. So, here’s the million-dollar question: is bottled water or tap water better? In this blog, we discuss the pros and cons of both to help you decide which to drink.
Pros & Cons of Tap Water
- Low Environmental Impact – Before it reaches your house, water is stored in a treatment facility where it undergoes several processes to remove potentially harmful contaminants. Then, after filling your glass with water and drinking it, you’ll likely wash the glass either by hand or in a dishwasher. All of these steps utilize energy, thereby resulting in an environmental impact. Still, the overall environmental impact of tap water is significantly less than bottled because it doesn’t require the extra energy needed to actually bottle the water. Furthermore, tap water doesn’t require plastic or disposable containers that might end up in landfills.
- Inexpensive and convenient – Tap water’s biggest benefits are perhaps its low cost and convenience. It’s simple to fill up a reusable bottle with tap water before heading out the door. Tap water is also available at restaurants, bars, and public drinking fountains—and is almost always free.
- Possible contamination – Tap water, also called municipal water, comes from large wells, lakes, rivers, or reservoirs. This water typically passes through a water treatment plant before being piped into homes and businesses. Nonetheless, drinking water contamination can still occur. For example, certain regions may have greater exposure to toxins, such as industrial pollutants or bacteria from agricultural runoff. Additionally, old plumbing may introduce contaminants like lead, and natural disasters like floods can temporarily pollute public water systems.
Pros & Cons of Bottled Water
- Tastes better – The taste of bottled water differs depending on the source of the water and packaging. Bottled water can also be carbonated or flavored to create unique tastes that appeal to some.
- Convenience – The main draw to bottled water is convenience. You can find water bottles at almost any store, so they are easily accessible if you are on the run.
- May contain microplastics – While bottled water is occasionally recalled due to contaminants, it’s generally considered safe. However, some products may harbor very small pieces of plastic called microplastics. Animal studies and other research suggests that microplastics act as endocrine-disrupting chemicals, resulting in negative health effects, and over time accumulate in organs like the liver, kidneys, and intestines. A 2018 study tested 11 widely available bottled water products from 9 countries, concluding that 93% of the 259 bottles sampled contained microplastics. This contamination was due in part to packaging and the bottling process itself.
- High Environmental Impact – One of the main drawbacks of bottled water is its environmental impact. From treating and bottling to transportation and refrigeration, bottled water requires large amounts of energy. In fact, bottled water production in the United States used 4 billion pounds of plastic in 2016 alone. Furthermore, it’s estimated that only 20% of plastic water bottles in the United States get recycled. Most end up in landfills or bodies of water. This is particularly problematic, as plastic bottles have been shown to release toxins as they degrade
Which is better?
Overall, both tap, and bottled water are considered great ways to hydrate. However, tap water is generally a better option, as it’s just as safe as bottled water but costs considerably less and has a much lower environmental impact. Plus, with a reusable water bottle, tap water can be just as convenient as bottled.
If safety or water quality is your main concern, consider purchasing a filtration system instead of regularly buying bottled water. Installing filtration systems is easy and can give you peace of mind. If you’re looking to go that route give Super Terry a call today. We can get a system up and running for you in no time!