The Bottled Water Debate

I wanted to share this article I read in the Star with my readers today, as I think it highlights an important issue facing all Canadians. It’s also part o my series of thoughts on the environment and going green.

The Case Against Bottled Water

The article talks about people’s perceptions of tap water versus bottled water, and how it’s strange that Canada has one of the best water supplies in the world, yet our citizens are choosing to drink foreign bottled water instead.

It also mentions the downsides to drinking bottled water, such as the toxins leached from the plastic, the amount of oil it takes to produce the plastic bottles, and the fact that bottled water is not tested for safety and potability nearly as often as municipal water is.

“…according to Health Canada, there is no evidence to support the belief that bottled water is any safer than tap water. Indeed, if anything, our tap water may well be safer and healthier than bottled varieties.
The municipal water supply is more stringently tested than bottled water supplies. In Canada, the CBC reports that local water supplies are inspected every day while bottled-water plants are inspected just once every three years. In addition, according to MSN news, water-bottling plants are required to test for coliform bacteria just once a week whereas most municipal water systems test for the bacteria several times a day.”

My personal opinion is that we are drinking too much bottled water. I have recently switched from drinking bottled water to carrying my own bottle around with me. I have a stainless steel water bottle or two now, which are not only fashionable, but they also keep my water cold and icky-taste-free all day. The environment is also important to me, so by not drinking bottled water I am reducing a heck of a lot of stress on the global environment (transport costs, bottling costs, “stealing” another area’s drinking water).

“According to the Pacific Institute, the energy required to produce plastic water bottles for the American market alone in 2006 was equivalent to more than 17 million barrels of oil and created 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide. Producing bottles consumes a huge amount of water too, with the Pacific Institute estimating it takes three litres of water to produce one litre of bottled water.”

However I still drink bottled water for the convenience factor, like when I’m out and about and there are no other options.

How do you feel about drinking bottled water? Do the risks and costs of it bother you, or do you still feel that municipal water is less clean or flavourful (-less)?

3 thoughts on “The Bottled Water Debate”

  1. I used to buy bottled water a lot – society has made us feel as though tap water is baaaaaad and buy this water! And this water! And this water!

    Then I was buying bottled water for Baby Bear’s medications and bottles – but I got sick of storing the bottled water, not to mention the cost – so I bought a Brita water filter that attaches to my tap. Under $20, and the filter lasts forever.

    I myself have gone back to drinking regular tap water. Here in BC our water tastes great and I don’t have an issue with drinking it.

  2. I love tap water. I drink it all the time. I think bottled water is waste of money, its bad for the environment and IT tastes funny.
    I was upset to learn that my Nalgene bottle was poisoning me all this time though :( I still have to get a new bottle but I always drink from the tap.
    I am also from BC and the water is yummy here. I even keep a jug of cold water in the fridge thats straight from the tap, just because I like it really cold :)

  3. I am fine with tap water. I prefer to use a filter to clear it up a bit but tap water is just fine. (I’m down in Washington State.) But I grew up on tap water up in Alaska where most of the city is well water. Yet people buy bottled water.

    Here in Seattle, they’ve stopped carrying water bottles in government building vending machines. People can still bring theirs from home, but the idea is that the government won’t stock bottled water in employee fridges or have it for sale.

    Of course, there are a few places where you really can’t take the tap water. Like Boston. Yeesh. I would always forget not to drink tap water when we visited my grandmother. And I swear to you, the water has this weird parsley aftertaste. And I’m not sure I have ever even eaten parsley but there’s no other way to explain that taste. Other than gross. Still, there are filters, so bottled water is hardly necessary.

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