There was a time when I wouldn’t dream of drinking tap water. I’m not even really sure why that was anymore, but I think it had to do with my perception that it was somehow less than. Bottled water just seemed more appealing to me. However, over the past 12-18 months my perception on water has changed significantly.
What caused the change? I became concerned about some of the chemicals that are found in plastic water bottles when the Canadian government decided to prohibit the use of bisphenol A in baby bottles due to possible health concerns. I am not a baby, but at the time that these announcements were happening I was pregnant and then breastfeeding. The chemicals that enter my body, therefore, may be passed to my baby. And if bisphenol A was a concern, then what other chemicals might be lurking in a plastic water bottle?
The concerns over bottled water do not end with possible chemical contaminants. Bottling water is an energy-intensive process. It takes 3 times as much water to produce a bottle than the bottle itself contains, and 17 million barrels of oil are used to produce water bottles each year. That’s enough to fuel 1 million cars. And then the bottles full of water are shipped from the factory to destinations which can be on the other side of the globe, using even more energy.
When you’re finished with the water, what happens to the bottle? When you consider that almost all bottled water is sold in single-size bottles, you realize that is a lot of waste. It’s estimated at 28 billion bottles in the US alone, and only 1 in 5 are recycled. That means that tens of billions of plastic bottles end up in the landfill, where they will remain for tens of thousands of years before they decompose.
Tap water is clearly a much greener choice. It is also far, far cheaper. Where I live, I pay an annual utilities bill regardless of how much water I use. For me, tap water is essentially free, whereas bottled water is definitely not. In my hometown, and across North America, tap water is also subjected to far stricter regulations and monitoring than bottled water. You know what you are getting when you drink water from the tap, and you know where it is coming from.
How did I make the switch? I’ve opted to just drink my tap water straight up. At first I didn’t like the taste, but within a week or so I adapted and now I actually prefer it. My husband wasn’t so keen, so he started making ice cubes. By always having fresh ice on hand he can keep his water at the temperature that he likes straight from the tap, and he enjoys it more that way. And our whole family invested in some quality, durable re-usable water bottles, so that we can always have fresh water on the go.
What about you? Do you opt for tap or bottled, or do you use a filter? I’d love to know!
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You can catch up with Amber’s daily adventures on her blog at Strocel.com.