Is Bottled Water a Wasteful Luxury?

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Is Bottled Water a Wasteful Luxury?

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There is so much controversy over bottled water versus tap water that I decided to do some research because, I must admit, I pick up bottled water whenever I find a good sale. Why? I'm not really sure.

Bottled water is a good idea in times of disasters (when water systems are inoperable), but for the rest of the time is bottle water a good thing? 

If you buy bottled water because you like the taste, and believe it's cleaner than tap water, you're not alone. Bottled water is convenient, but it's expensive--and it's not necessarily safer or healthier, according to some studies.

Bottled and tap water both originate from natural sources such as lakes, springs and aquifers. BUT, A lot of bottled water is actually tap water that's been filtered or treated with minerals. According to Dr. Stephen Edberg, an affiliate of the Yale University School of Medicine, there is no significant difference between tap water and bottled water in terms of safety and quality.

Well, are we, the consumers, being taken in by a multi-billion dollar industry? 

After a bit more research, here's what I found.

It started with Perrier. Somehow, a French company convinced people it's cool to buy bottled water. Today, Evian has surpassed Perrier in sales and now it's the chic French water of choice. Why? It costs about 5 bucks a gallon! Why do people pay so much for something they can get virtually free?

If they're not buying Evian, they buy Aquafina and Dasani and the dozens of new brands that are jumping into this billion-dollar business, including bizarre ones like Venus, the Water for Women, and Trump Ice, with "The Donald" scowling on the label.

I'd have to be very thirsty to buy that.

Watching bottled water ads, you'd think that tap water might not be healthy. But it's not true. ABC's "20/20" took five bottles of national brands of bottled water and a sample of tap water from a drinking fountain in the middle of New York City and sent them to microbiologist Aaron Margolin of the University of New Hampshire to test for bacteria that can make you sick, like e. coli. "There was actually no difference between the New York City tap water and the bottled waters that we evaluated," he said.

 Many scientists have run tests like that and have consistently found that tap water is as good for you as bottled waters that cost 500 times more.

Okay, so maybe we are being coerced into buying bottle water because the commercials make them look so great for us to drink. For instance, the labels of the bottled waters do suggest they're special. Some show mountains or polar bears or glaciers. You have to look at the fine print to find out Everest Water is not from Mount Everest. It's from Corpus Christi, Texas. Glacier Clear Water is not from a glacier in Alaska. Its source is tap water from Greeneville, Tenn. 

Big-selling Dasani and Aquafina are also just reprocessed tap water from cities around the country. One of Aquafina's sources is the Detroit River! At least the popular French water, Evian, does come from France.

Bottom line, if you buy bottled water because you think it's healthier than tap, test after test shows no evidence of that. And if you buy fancy brands because you think they taste better, you're probably just buying the hype. 

After finding out all this (and more), I have resolved not to buy another bottle of bottled water. 

If you believe these findings, and I do, then why spend extra money for something that is virtually free right from our kitchen faucet. By free, I mean that water bills (at my house anyway) are the least costly bills we have.  You can use gallons of water to bathe, do dishes and laundry, water the lawn, wash your vehicles and on and on without spending even $75.00 monthly. How much do you pay for one bottled water or a case of your favorite bottled water and how long does it last? 

If you're a bottled water fan who wants to save money and live a greener lifestyle, consider purchasing a water-filtering system. This is an economical way to purify your water at home and improve its taste. 

We did install a reverse osmosis system at our kitchen faucet which is also supposed to improve the taste and remove any impurities there might be. 

I think I have just convinced myself that I don't really have a need to buy bottled water; especially since the majority is reprocessed tap water. Why pay for what I already have? 


Kimberly Johns, Debt Management Plan Customer with Leading Provider of Debt Relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Kimberly Johns

Kimberly is enrolled on the CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Kimberly is very active in the Community Forums, some of you may recognize her Community user name; Tiquie. Recently retired, Kim shares how she and her husband manage the financial challenges of living on a fixed income in their home state of Illinois. The John's have found some really creative and fun ways to offset the limitations of a retirement income. Kimberly generously shares smart and tested tips in her A Straight Talk on Debt blog! Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

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  • Some of us have no choice but to buy bottled water.  I don not have a municipal water supply available as of yet.  I  do however have a well that is contaminated rom all the years of chemicals

  • Hi Russell and thanks for reading the blog.  Are we talking about a well or a cistern?  No matter, each can be cleaned with not much expense and can then be used again.  Check this link to find out how:

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