Here are some facts about bottled water:
* Millions of barrels of oil are used in just the production of plastic water bottles used in America each year.
* Only roughly 1/4 of all disposable water bottles are believed to be recycled annually. The remaining bottles are in landfills, incinerators, and become litter that spreads throughout the environment.
* Many water bottles that are not recycled become litter that enters waterways, and ultimately the ocean, contributing to a long-lasting pollution problem that impacts the health of fisheries, marine mammals, and humans.
* Did you know? Many commercially produced bottled water products are filtered from municipal tap sources- the same drinking water hat flows out of home taps for pennies instead of dollars.
* Bottled water is subjected to less testing than municipal water services in many cases. Most states do not require a bottling company to state what its product source is for the water.
* Americans spend over $100 billion each year for a product that can be had for a fraction of the cost from their homes.
* Boston is, unfortunately, the home of the bottled water industry. In the 1760's, bottled water was sold as a tonic for health reasons to clients at a local health spa.
* Major beverage companies spend billions of dollars annually trying to persuade customers that bottles water is safer, better tasting, and cleaner than tap water. No proof of these claims is given.
So what to do? Before grabbing a disposable bottle of water on your next trip outdoors, try the following:
* Use a refillable water bottle and fill with tap water from your home. It's likely the same taste and quality of pre-bottled water, but much cheaper.
* Want ice cold water? Store your water bottle in the refrigerator overnight. Depending on your container, you may even be able to freeze the bottle first. If you have a large mouth container, fill to the rim with ice cubes before filling with water. This helps water stay cooler longer.
* Does your tap water have a heavy taste from treatment? Try a faucet filter that removes chemicals like chlorine. There are many styles available, and filters can be used to fill dozens of bottles and are cheaper overall than bottled water.
* Teach kids not to be afraid of tap water. Kids take their behavioral cues from adults, so if you use disposable plastic water bottles they probably will too. By reusing bottles and filling with tap water you will be teaching them good habits, saving them money, and reducing environmental impacts, too.
Water is essential for a healthy life, but bottled water simply is not. By taking a few small steps to change our consumption habits, we can have positive financial and environmental impacts and take back the tap for our daily water needs.