America’s been using bottled water for a long time
Did you know that bottling water could be traced all the way back to the 16th and 17th century? You may think that the plastic craze we currently live in is what’s responsible for putting water in bottles, but you’re quite mistaken.
According to historical records, bottling water for therapeutic purposes was quite popular during the 1600’s, with water from “holy sites” and “magical fountains” dominating the industry.
Much later, in the 1800’s, when manufacturers learned about carbonated drinks, fizzy water became quite the trend.
Keep in mind that these products were quite expensive--since they involved glass bottles.
Later on, when health concerns of typhoid, cholera and other water-borne diseases became apparent, the popularity of bottled water surged. Instead of a rich-man’s treated water that purportedly had more benefits than drinking the formerly-pure tap water, it became a necessity for people to drink bottled water during times of contamination.
When it comes to consuming bottled water, the world has held on to this practice for hundreds of years.
Over $100 Billion is spent on the purchase of bottled water per year around the world. It’s a staggering number considering that most countries have access to water right at their kitchen sink.
Even with access to free tap water more than half of Americans still opt to buy bottled water and the rest of the world have caught on the trend. If you think this is staggering wait until you learn more about the bottled water industry.
8 Super Interesting FACTS About the Bottled Water Industry
The use of bottled water can be traced back as far as the 1760s in the United States, more specifically in Boston. The first companies marketed mineral water in bottles and claimed that the water had therapeutic properties and it has since caught the world by storm many decades later.
Asia, South American, and North America are the continents leading the world in bottled water consumption with North America consuming the most.
California is one of the states that consumes the most amount of bottled water each year. Surprisingly, tap water costs over 500 times less than bottled water which is staggering amount.
Major companies like Pepsi and Coca-Cola have started a war on the consumption of tap water for them to be able to dominate the market. The tactic has worked very well as people all around the world have decided to drop tap water and consume bottled water instead.
Most of the expensive bottled water we consume is actually just tap water that has been marketed as something else. Over 47.8% (2009 survey) of all bottled water comes from the tap but are priced ridiculously high.
It is the fear of tap water that has lead consumers into believing that bottled water is a better and safer solution. This is because not many know of other options like at home water distillers and filters.
Over 17 million barrels of oil is used in the production of water bottles which is very harmful to the environment.
Only 12% of all the water bottles used are recycled each year leaving the other 88% as added waste into our landfills.
The Statistics of Bottled Water
Now that we have learned a lot about the fact that goes into consuming and creating bottled water it’s time to learn about the statistics. Who uses them? How much money do companies make through them? Which brand is the most popular and expensive kind? And so much more:
- Over 30.8 gallons of bottled water is consumed by Americans on average every year.
- In 2012 the total amount of bottled water sold in the US has reached almost $12 Billion.
- Evian is considered as the most valued brand of bottled water and its value has been calculated at $904 Million.
- In the United States, 24 percent of bottled water sold is either Pepsi’s Aquafina (13 percent of the market) or Coke’s Dasani (11 percent of the market). Both brands are bottled, purified municipal water.
- The estimated profit from bottled water across the entire world is at $86 Billion.
- It takes 3 times the amount of water to make a disposable water bottle than it does to fill one bottle of water.
- If the demand continues, over 10% in global consumption of bottled water will increase in the next few years.
- Over 20% of all tested bottled water has a higher rate of bacteria and contamination compared to the tested tap water reserves.
- China, Spain, and the United States are one of the 11 top countries that consume the most amount of bottled water, but Mexico out ranks all of these countries due to its lack of clean water supplies.
- Roughly 40% of all bottled water starts out as tap water. Manufacturers add minerals to the water to increase the prices, but these minerals have no proven benefits.
How about the bottles?
How about them, indeed? We can’t talk about bottled water without looking at the bottles.
Keep in mind that environmentalists and plastic bottle manufacturers are at odds. It can’t be denied that manufacturing the bottles and transferring water to them costs more, but the safety of the general public can also never be discounted.
This is why bottled water isn’t just about plastic anymore. Some environment-friendly companies like Bottles Up have started using glass bottles to entice green-living customers to continue using bottled water. Let’s take a look at how the plastic and glass bottles are faring:
- You save 240 bottles a year by reusing a glass bottle.
- Around 2.7 million tons of plastic is used for the manufacturing of water bottles.
- The number of disposable plastic water bottles consumed in the US in 2010 could fill 849,941 school buses (double the number of school buses on the road today).
- The U.S is the largest consumer of plastic bottled water in the world.
- Annually, Americans consume more than 8.6 billion gallons of bottled water each year The average U.S. citizen consumes more than 21 gallons of water every year.
- The price of bottled water is up to 10,000 times the cost of tap water.
- Only 10% of the cost of bottled water goes to the actual water, the other 90% goes to the packaging, transportation and marketing.
- More than 75% of plastic water bottles are never recycled, they’re simply thrown away.
- PET (plastic) water bottles generate more than 121 million tons of waste each year.
- Manufacturing & filling the plastic water bottles, on average wastes 30-40% of the water involved in the process.
- In the U.S. 1,500 plastic water bottles are consumed every second. 70% of those will never be recycled. 90% of the trash in the ocean is from plastic.
While no conclusive study has found that the plastic from water bottles do harm us in the long run (we’re exposed to so much plastic outside of what we drink anyway), it has been proven that water sitting in these bottles for more than 10 weeks do have pthalates.
But you could also find the same amount of pthalates in glass bottles. Are the phtalates enough to poison us? The study is inconclusive.
This means one thing: Check when the bottled water was manufactured and decide for yourself.
Not all bottled water types are created equal
Today, we still have therapeutic water and purified water, but the types of bottled water available reads like a menu for a “water connoisseur.” There are tons of different types and variations that consumers need to choose from.
Thanks to marketing, though, the lines between these types can turn out blurred. What’s more, you have to understand where the water in your bottles are sourced. Knowing where the water is taken can give you a good idea on the real type of water you’re drinking.
Check the bottom of your bottled water. If you can see a note that says, “From a municipal water source.” or, “Sourced from a community water system.” then your bottled water originated from the tap.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you’re drinking tap water. Call the manufacturer to ask how your bottled water’s been treated.
But how does the bottled water industry look like today? Let’s take a look.
A resource going down the drain
Most people not just in the US consider drinking bottled water as part of their healthy lifestyle which is not true.
One of the biggest reasons why consumers prefer to spend money and drink bottled water is because they are scared of the possible contamination in the water. Although 90% of all tap water across the United States is checked for contaminations like E. Coli people are still scared of drinking water straight out of the tap.
This is why the market for bottled water is such a huge one.
But you simply can’t discount its impact on the environment. So how do we find a balance between using the water we want to drink and how much waste we produce?
Why not consider using distilled water and a glass bottle?
Distilled water: facts and statistics
Distilled water is potable drinking water that is considered as one of the purest forms of treated water. What happens during distillation is that regular tap or filtered water is boiled and the steam is collected into a clean container.
The steam is then condensed and the water collected will be considered as distilled water and it is free of contaminants, minerals like calcium, and other toxins that may be harmful if consumed.
Since the basics of distilled water and how it is made has been widely understood it’s time to dig in deeper and examine the statistics and facts about the water we drink and use for a number of other things in our daily lives.
Why choose distilled water as drinking water at home?
There is much debate about what kind of water we should be consuming at home. Many people think that drinking water straight from the tap is acceptable. Although tap water goes through water treatments like filtration that process alone is not enough to rid the water of all of its contaminants.
In fact the most toxic of contaminants cannot be taken out just from filtration and microfiltration alone.
To make things easier to understand here are some important facts about water contaminants:
- More than 75,000 chemicals used by various industries like agriculture that are washed away in the local water reserve and make it back into our tap water. Thousands more are being added every year.
- Over 80% of all of these chemicals used have not been tested for long-term effects of their toxicity.
- The amount of chemicals, radioactive waste, and other pollutants being released into the environment every year reaches up to an estimated 200 billion tons. It is believed that due to improper waste management that most of these chemicals come back to the water supply.
With so many potential chemicals that could harm you and your family contaminating the local water supply, it is better to avoid ingesting regular tap and opt for a cleaner and safer option like distilled water.
But isn’t distilled water also bottled?
YES and NO. The easiest way to get distilled water is to buy it bottled, but you can also distill at home.
Since it has been established that there are many contaminants found in regular tap water and if it is possible, you should avoid consumption of untreated water. Since tap water should not be regularly consumed the next best option would be to have your very own water distiller at home.
There are many brands that have a compact distiller that will fit perfectly on your countertop. The average price range for a water distiller is around $350 - $600 depending on the brand and size of the machine.
To compare prices and brands check out our product round-up below:
Before you go investing on your own distiller at home here are some facts and most importantly the benefits of having a water distiller at home:
- Water distillers are a longer term investment. With proper care and cleaning most machines can last up to 10 years.
- Most water distillers are easy to operate. With a flip of a switch you can turn regular tap water into drinkable distilled water.
- You will have a supply of ready to drink and safe water right at your fingertips.
- Saving on cost from purchase of bottled water. Consuming bottled water can cost up to $1,400.00 a year.
- You get to stay healthy with your own supply of distilled water. No more worries about consuming contaminants that may harm you or your family.
There are more facts and benefits to drinking distilled water that you have distilled at home. Aside from keeping yourself safe from the toxicity of drinking regular tap water you also help save the environment from avoiding purchase of expensive bottled water that usually goes un-recycled.
To help people feel safer when they drink water from the tap there are other options aside from the continuous consumption for bottled water. There are at home water purifications systems like a countertop water distiller that can provide cleaner and safer water at the fraction of the cost.
Most Americans will not consider drinking from the tap because it seems like bottled water is still a safer and more convenient option. That is not true at all. By using your very own water purification system at home you can make your own potable drinking water that you know is always safe to drink.
There are many bottled water brands that are simply just tap water with added minerals. Some of these have not gone through any tests and will not meet the EPA standards for drinkable and water. Having the access to clean safe water can be possible through drinking distilled water.
Aside from saving on money you are also doing your part in saving the environment by lessening the amount of bottles in our landfills. Don’t let this precious resource go down the drain.
Keep in mind that there are places where drinking bottled water is a must--like when you’re going on trips abroad. The environment between countries changes so drastically that you need treated water to avoid getting sick.
So bear in mind that you have to balance your usage. Drinking bottled water is quite all right, as long as you know how to reuse bottles and maximize each PET bottle purchase.
5 Essential Facts About Bottled Water in America
- Americans consume an average of 30 gallons of bottled water per person each year.
- The majority of bottled water sold in the US is sourced from municipal tap water.
- Bottled water is regulated by the FDA, while tap water is regulated by the EPA.
- Bottled water can be up to 10,000 times more expensive than tap water.
- Plastic bottles used for bottled water take 450 years to decompose.
ALSO: Consider investing in a reusable bottle and filter system to reduce your plastic waste and save money!
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About The Author
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Joseph Bartley, also known as the WaterFilterFanatic, is a seasoned content writer who specializes in water filtration and water quality topics. On AllAboutWaterFilters, he has written a range of water filtration system reviews, water health and quality articles, swimming pool, hot tub and aquarium filtration guides, DIY methods to assist people clean their drinking water, and much more. Joseph enjoys spending his time working with the #AllAboutWaterFilters Editorial Team to provide some of the best quality water filtration content available on the web.