- The picture above, found at whatisleft.org and created by David Coale of Acterra, is a representation of the amount of oil required to ship a bottle of water from its source to the Bay Area of California.
- Roughly 1.5 million tons of plastic are expended in the bottling of 89 billion liters of water each year.*
- The United States is the world’s leading consumer of bottled water, with Americans drinking 26 billion liters in 2004, or approximately one 8-ounce glass per person every day.** This in spite of the fact that the U.S. has some of the world's safest tap water.
- The most commonly used plastic for making water bottles is polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is derived from crude oil. Making bottles to meet Americans’ demand for bottled water requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel some 100,000 U.S. cars for a year. Worldwide, some 2.7 million tons of plastic are used to bottle water each year.**
- According to the Container Recycling Institute, 86 percent of plastic water bottles used in the United States become garbage or litter. Incinerating used bottles produces toxic byproducts such as chlorine gas and ash containing heavy metals. Buried water bottles can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade. Almost 40 percent of the PET bottles that were deposited for recycling in the United States in 2004 were actually exported, sometimes to as far away as China—adding to the resources used by this product.**
- We're moving 1 billion bottles of water around a week in ships, trains, and trucks in the United States alone. That's a weekly convoy equivalent to 37,800 18-wheelers delivering water. (Water weighs 81/3 pounds a gallon. It's so heavy you can't fill an 18-wheeler with bottled water--you have to leave empty space.)***
- In Fiji, a state-of-the-art factory spins out more than a million bottles a day of the hippest bottled water on the U.S. market today, while more than half the people in Fiji do not have safe, reliable drinking water.***
- Bottled water is much less regulated than tap water. As a matter of fact, most bottled water is tap water. Some has been filtered for purity, some has simply had minerals added for taste, and others are straight from the tap.
- Bottled water companies are not required to reveal their filtration and/or purification processes on the label. So you simply don't know what's in that water. And just because it says "Spring Water" doesn't mean it's clean spring water.
- Ounce for ounce, bottled water costs more than gasoline. Depending on the brand, it costs 250 to 10,000 times more than tap water.****
- If you bought and drank a bottle of Evian, which costs about $1.35, you could refill that bottle once a day for 10 years, 5 months, and 21 days with tap water before that water would cost $1.35.***
About eight months ago we put faucet-mounted filtration systems in our kitchen, and upstairs near the bedrooms. The systems cost about $30 each. We replace the filters, which cost about $10 each, every two to three months downstairs and every three to four months upstairs.
We've saved a shitload of money. We now have filtered water for everything we consume -- not just drinking, but cooking too. We're not lugging cased of bottled water from the store anymore. Our house isn't cluttered with plastic bottled anymore. And we're no longer contributing to all the waste and pollution caused by the bottles.
*According to a 2001 report of the World Wide Fund for Nature.
**From the article "Bottled Water: Pouring Resources Down the Drain," published by the Earth Policy Institute.
***From the Fast Company article "Message in a Bottle".
****From the NYT article "Bad to the Last Drop," by Tom Standage.