Plastic bottled water may seem like nothing more than a convenient way to make sure you are staying hydrated throughout the day. But according to a new study, buying a bottle of Aquafina or Dasani or whatever your preferred brand is instead of using the tap is detrimental to the environment.
The study focused on the water consumption habits of Barcelona and found that a water bottle is 3,500 times more harmful to the environment than drinking water from the tap.
How is that even possible? There are a variety of factors, but the single biggest reason that plastic bottled water is so bad for the environment is the sheer number of resources required to make the bottles themselves. Add that to the fact that plastic water bottles are primarily used once and then discarded — that’s sort of the point of the design.
It turns out that it takes three times the amount of water to make the bottle than what is actually put into the bottle, along with the oil required to make the plastic. The oil needed to make plastic water bottles yearly could be used to power hundreds of thousands of homes in the United States.
The even worse news is that bottled water usage continues to increase every year. In 2020, Americans purchased approximately 15 billion gallons of bottled water, and other parts of the world have seen similar growth.
Many choose bottled water over tap because they believe tap is less safe, but that may not even be true. Experts say that the rigorous amount of testing required for tap water actually makes it safer than bottled water, which often has much more relaxed standards than what runs through municipal taps.
Fortunately, there is a very easy solution to this problem, and that is to replace water bottles with a reusable bottle that you can simply fill up with tap water throughout your day. It’s a simple, affordable alternative that will legitimately help make the world a better place.