Canadians consume more than 60 litres of bottled water per person each year while the Americans consume about 109 litres (second highest in the world). Canada boasts 20% of the world’s fresh water and our water quality is one of the best in the world. Why are we wasting our money and resources on bottled water?!
Here are SIX good reasons to not drink bottled water and to drink tap water:
#1 Save the Environment: The process of bottling water produces more than 2.5 million tones of CO2 and more than 900,000 tons of PET plastic are used to make the bottles for bottled water. And it takes more than 17 million barrels of oil to produce these plastic bottles. Only about 20-25% of all plastic water bottles are recycled – the rest goes into landfills. Plastics takes hundreds of years to breakdown into little pieces of plastic and never biodegrade. The bottled water industry is growing by 10% each year, which means the number of plastic bottles dumped in our landfills are also growing. And that’s not to mention the plastic that is littered in our oceans causing significant risks to marine life, killing birds and fish which mistake the pieces of plastic for food. The icing on this eco-cake is that it takes 3 litres of water to make one litre of bottled water.
#2 Save Money: It costs about $1 for half a litre bottle of water whereas tap water costs about one cent for four litres. David Suzuki puts it into perspective: paying for a litre of bottled water is more than paying for a litre of gasoline ~ and we’re always complaining about the high prices of gas?!
#3 Be a Role Model: Being eco-friendly and economical is no longer enough. We need to encourage the next generation to adapt these habits. Habits are learned and can be unlearned. With all the consequences of drinking bottled water, we need to think of our children and the kind of world we want them to live in. We need to teach by example, by showing them that drinking tap water is a healthy, safe and environmentally friendly practice. And banish the thought of drinking bottled water.
#4 Bottled Water is Not Better Than Tap: Municipal water systems must be tested for harmful microbiological content in the water several time a day whereas bottled water companies are only required to do these tests once a week and are inspected only once every three years. Some bottled water labels like Aquafina and Dasani are simply processed/filtered municipal water. You already have access to quality tap water in Canada, why pay more for it in a bottle? Water is water.
#5 Give Priority to Municipal Systems: Bottled water consumption leads to less tap water drinking which in turn puts less attention on public systems. In Canada, we have high standards for drinking water quality because half of all Canadians drink tap water (57% of British Columbians drink tap). If this declines, resources to keep these systems at high standards may dwindle.
#6 The Human Right to Water: With population increase and urbanization, water is the ‘Blue Gold’ of our century. Multinationals are reacting by privatizing water supplies through the purchase of groundwater rights, and the driving force is the bottled water industry’s demand for water. We should all have the right for access to safe and affordable water.
What can you do?
* conserve water
* recycle all your beverage containers and bottles
* buy reusable stainless steel water bottles and use them
* add a water filter to your home tap or use a portable filter like Brita
* take a pledge to drink tap water