4/7/08 - Bottled water is not good. Period.

Here's the thing. I don't have any scientific proof for what I'm about to talk about. I don't have any fancy charts or pretty graphs. My research is limited to only what I've read in passing over the last however long I've cared about this topic. I am not an expert on the environment. I have not won a Nobel Peace Prize or studied the effects of "Global Warming". I have never studied directly under Dave Ramsey. I am not a CPA and have never invested in Mutual Funds.

What I do know is that bottled water is NOT good for the environment and is financially "not smart".

I'll hit on the environmental aspect first. Plastic is not biodegradable. Water comes packaged in plastic bottles which are single use entities. Every time you finish off a bottle of water, it gets thrown into the trash, which is then taken to a landfill (or in some cases, dumped somewhere you wouldn't expect). Once in the landfill, that bottle will be there for years to come. I have no data, so I'm not going to throw out any specific time, but I would guess that it will be there for your grandkids grandkids, if not longer.

Financially, it just doesn't make sense to me. I recognize that bottled water is not incredibly expensive and is much cheaper than soft drinks. This does not change the fact that there are other MUCH cheaper options than bottled water. Your kitchen sink is the first that comes to mind. Recently, I decided that I would start drinking a glass of water every night. I have no idea why I decided that, but it seemed like a good idea. Instead of going through a bottle of water, I chose to actually drink tap water, out of a glass and I was amazed that I actually enjoyed the taste better than the bottled stuff. What's even better is that I can add ice cubes in a glass of water, but I have to refrigerate the bottles for several hours to get them chilled.

You might say immediately that to you the quality of the bottled water is much better. I find it hard to believe that that is truly the case. Their are two different bodies that govern and regulate the quality of water both in the bottled water industry and the municipal water sources. From my understanding, tap water is held to a higher standard and is much more readily monitored. I wish I had better facts, but as I said at the beginning of this post, I'm just regurgitating what I've heard in the past.

Evian spelled backwards is Naive. The entire bottled water industry has been increase in popularity primarily from marketing which emphasises both the convenience and the "higher quality" of the companies product. Marketing is an amazing thing, it works, but I believe that this country should be more educated regarding bottled water.

I recognize that bottled water is very convenient. It comes prepackaged, you don't have to fill up anything or worry about spills. But at the end of the day, how long does it really take to fill up a reused bottle. This is what I would recommend, go ahead and buy a pack of bottled water. Put three or four in the fridge and when you empty one of them, fill it back up with tap water (or filtered water, more in a second) and put it right back in the fridge. It takes all of about 20 seconds and in that time, you saved a little bit of money AND helped out Mother Earth. Now, I have read research that states after about 5 or 6 uses, the plastic can start to degrade. I don't even reuse a bottle but maybe four times tops. After that, I throw it away and put a new bottle in the fridge. This is still slightly wasteful, but four times better than not doing it.

Several years ago, Cristi and I realized how silly it was that we were going through so much bottled water. What we did is went and got a Brita filter. It had an easy dispense spout on the front and held a gallon and a half or something like that. We would use that to fill up our bottles and that way, we had the convenience and had the "clean" taste that some people prefer. (I still can't tell the difference between cold filtered water and cold tap water).

Last but not least. Something that I've found works really well to increase the flavor of water that doesn't require any bottles, filters or anything like that is ice. By getting the water as cold as possible (obviously without freezing it) the flavors almost completely go away. Here's my favorite recipe. Take a regular glass, fill half way with ice cubes or crushed ice, top off glass with regular cold tap water and enjoy. Give it a try, see what you think.


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