Would you ever pay for something that you can get for free? Many St. Thomas students and faculty are guilty of doing this every time they buy a bottle of water. According to the National Resources Defense Council and Environment 911, we are spending 10,000 times more per gallon of water and allowing 800,000 metric tons of harmful pollutants to be released into the air by buying bottled water. The product’s success is truly a marketing mystery.
Bottled water entered the market in the ‘70s. It literally was a crazy idea at the time, but bottled water companies have been incredibly lucrative due to their deceptive and false marketing lexicon. This magic water doesn’t come from a pristine landscape that’s been purified by equatorial trade winds. In fact, blog Drink Tap states that 48.7 percent of bottled water is tap water.
Still, these large multi-national companies are making billions of dollars each year. It doesn’t take much to extract the water from the ground, slap an attractive yet misleading label on the bottle and sell the product at outrageously high and competitive prices.
A taste test done by Showtime Television between tap water and bottled water that supposedly isn’t tap water illustrated that 75 percent of New Yorkers preferred the taste of tap water. These statistics put any concerns of tap water’s purity and taste to rest.
Bottled water is also severely detrimental to the environment. The production of the bottles in the U.S. used the energy equivalent of 86 million barrels of oil to produce and transport plastic water bottles in 2007. That’s enough to fuel roughly 1.5 million cars for an entire year, according to The Sonoma County Gazette. On top of that, Environment 911 said only one out of every four bottles winds up in a recycling bin. The other 75 percent can be seen in landfills and bodies of water.
One reason why people continually buy plastic bottled water is because of its obvious convenience. In this day and age, people are incessantly on the go. Bottled water can keep up with that fast-paced lifestyle. However, purchasing a reusable water bottle is the perfect alternative. You can easily fill a stainless steel water bottle with tap water from your home and carry it with you throughout the day. This reusable bottle will last for years, which will save you hundreds of dollars annually.
In addition, if you aren’t a fan of the taste of your tap water or aren’t sure of its quality, you can easily purchase a filter pitcher or install a faucet filter. These inexpensive products can remove trace chemicals and bacteria.
Plastic bottled water is no purer or tastier than tap water, but harmful to both college students’ wallets and the environment. So the next time you want to purchase bottled water, consider the already extremely wealthy water bottle companies you’re supporting. Think about the harm you’re doing to the world you and your loved ones are living in. And if those factors fail to faze you, think about the money you could save for that hot spring break trip by buying a reusable bottle instead.