Drink Tap Water!

          One of the habits of the past that we all need to reclaim is drinking water out of the tap!  If you had told me thirty years ago that we would pay more than a dollar for 16 ounces of water, I would never have believed it could happen.  When you think about it, it makes no sense at all.  Almost all Americans have access to safe drinking water, and there is no sweeter water anywhere than here in the Twin Counties.  Yet stores sell cases of water, conveniently contained in disposable plastic bottles.  This has to be one of the greatest marketing schemes (scams?) of all time.  Bottled water is served at training events, at Little League games, at fast-food outlets, at family get-togethers, at church suppers—almost any event you can think of. 

            It’s possible to see this as a positive movement.  After all, water is healthier than soda.  It has no caffeine, sugar or added chemicals, something very few beverages can claim.  We are told that we need to drink plenty of water, especially when exercising or playing sports or working outside.  That’s all true.  But why buy water, when it is so freely available from the tap?

            The first bottled water I became aware of was Perrier, which came in glass bottles and was supposedly from a pristine spring in France.  Ordering Perrier became a mark of class and distinction and was in fact far healthier than a martini or a cappucino.  Then other “spring waters” began to compete with Perrier and the market expanded.  However, it really exploded when Coca-Cola and Pepsi got into the act with Dasani and Aquafina, their respective brands, and sold them in vending machines.  What was not obvious to consumers, however, is that these two brands are simply tap water put through a filter.  An inexpensive filter attached to your tap will give you the same thing in your own kitchen.

            So that leaves convenience as the only reason to buy bottled water.  You can easily take it with you anywhere.  It doesn’t spoil.  You can track how much you drink throughout the day.  And when you have finished a bottle, you simply toss it in the trash.  According to smartcycle.com, Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.  I can’t even get my mind around that volume of trash.  Plastic constitutes 90% of the trash floating in our oceans, and this doesn’t mean the occasional bottle.  There is a patch of garbage between Hawaii and California, collected by the Pacific currents, that is twice the size of Texas.  It is the world’s largest landfill, floating in the world’s largest ocean.  And what is plastic made of?  Petroleum.   The manufacture of plastic bottles in the US requires the equivalent of 17 million barrels of crude oil every year, contributing significantly to our dependence on imported oil.

            So there is one thing you can do, every day that will help our energy dependence, the environment, and your budget—drink tap water!  Buy a refillable water bottle (stainless steel or non-PBA plastic) and use it when you need to have water handy.  Do NOT re-use the bottles that water comes in—they are not intended for re-use and may leach chemicals into the water as they break down.  I love it when doing the right thing for the planet also saves me money!