As you review your daily habits to help thicken your wallet and decrease your environmental impact, there are a few golden changes that an immediate huge payoff. Using a reusable water bottle and ditching the single use plastic is one of those.
Even though the large majority of Americans have easy access to clean drinking water, we consumer more bottled water than anywhere in the world. We use over 50 BILLION bottles each year and less than 25% of that is even recycled. In other words, about 38 billion plastic water bottles are trashed.
Convenience, mostly. But realistically, how did we get into the mindset that plastic water bottles are really that much more convenient? Making the habit of carrying a reusable water bottle with you will have immediate impacts on health, wealth, and the earth. Ponder these statistics:
- Bottled water can cost up to 10,000 times more per gallon than tap water.
- 17 million barrels of oil are used every year to produce bottled water.
- It takes 3 times the amount of water to produce the bottle than to fill the bottle.
- For the bottles that are not recycled, this accounts for over $1 billion in wasted plastic each year.
Battling the Myths of Tap Water
Many people that buy bottled water falsely believe that it is cleaner and better than their local tap water. In reality, that bottled water is most likely just filtered tap water. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) strict regulations on US public water. It requires multiple daily tests for bacteria and toxins and these test must be publicly available. On the other hand, corporations that produce bottled water are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and only required to complete weekly testing, the results of which are private record. You can request the test results of your tap water from your local government to review the quality. Still concerned about the tap? You can use a filtered pitcher or add a filter straight to your faucet.
Health Effects from BPA
BPA, Bisphenol A, is a chemical that has proven to be harmful to your health. This chemical is found in many household plastics, including bottled water. It is connected to rates of cancer, heart disease, infertility, and hormonal issues.
In studies of women in fertility treatments, those with higher levels of BPA are up to 2 times less likely to become pregnant. For men, they were 3-4 times more likely to have a low sperm count (Source). It has been shown to be so harmful that the EU, Canada, China, and Malaysia have all restricted its use. However, there are no US federal regulations against it.
Save Money, Buy Reusable Water Bottles
On average, Americans spend $5 a week on bottled water or about $250 a year. For a family of four, about $1,000 a year is out the window (and into the landfill).
Break the habit of buying the bottled water and instantly start saving money. Look for stainless steel water bottles or, if you prefer plastic, make sure it is BPA.
By making a habit of carrying the water bottle with you, you are saving those dollars but creating a great health habit of drinking more water.
Interested in learning more? Check out Take Back the Tap, an initiative working across colleges in the US to promote tap water on campuses.