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10 Alarming Facts About Bottled Water

alarming facts about water bottles

A steady rise in consumption over the course of a decade has made bottled water more popular today than Pepsi. But while health experts welcome the shift in dietary behavior, future generations may not be thanking us.

Whether it’s the 5 gallon replacement for your Brio water cooler, or a standard 341 ml bottle of Aquafina to keep you hydrated on the go, bottled water comes at a price.  

A recent consumer report released in April 2019 found that leading manufacturers of bottled water had high levels of arsenic, as well as a range of other contaminants in their water.

This makes the situation more dire when we think of the dwindling supply of fresh water, the rising cost of water treatments, and unsafe drinking water supply from our taps, making bottled water the only ‘reliable option’ for many people.

With that said, here are some start startling facts about bottled water consumption and waste in America, taken from 2017 data. [Source]

  1. 17 million barrels of oil are needed to meet the consumer demand for bottled water in the US annually. This is a scary thought considering it’s been said that the the world will run out of oil in 2030.
  2. 20 billion plastic bottles end up in landfills each year. Another startling thought when you think about how it can take up to 1000 years for plastic to decompose. 
  3. 75% of plastic bottles are never recycled.
  4. 3X the amount of water is used to fill one manufactured bottle of water than it takes to fill one bottle of tap water. With more than 7.5 billion people on the planet, and the population projected to top 10 billion by 2050, the situation, water scarcity is becoming a real threat.
  5. A single PET bottle can take up to 500 million years to decompose. Decomposition doesn’t even start for at least 700 years.
  6. 90% of the cost you pay towards bottled water goes to packaging and labeling.
  7. Plastic is made from fossil fuels. As a result, 800,000 metric tons of pollutants are produced each year by plastic water bottle manufacturing facilities.
  8. By 2050, our oceans may contain more plastic than fish in weight. [Source]
  9. Combined, Pepsi and Coke represent a 24% market share of annual bottled water sales in the US. Both of their brands, (Aquafina for Pepsi, Dasani for Coke) use purified municipal water. [Source]
  10. More than 20% of all tested bottled water has a higher rate of bacteria and contamination than tested tap water. [Source]

Further industry statistics on bottled water consumption and sales in the US can be obtained through the International Bottled Water Association.

What You Can Do

If you want to help make a difference, you can start refusing single-use plastic drink bottles. Instead:

Carry your own reusable alternative with you. Our guides provide many environmentally-friendly alternatives, such as a stainless steel, glass, safe aluminium, and even filtered water bottles

You can even go further with your impact by encouraging and supporting businesses to provide refillable water stations. Also, don’t underestimate the impact of writing to your local government. Together we can help ban single-use plastic and hold manufacturers accountable.

    Final Thoughts

    It’s a scary time to be alive right now. But we can still turn things around!

    Lets start by talking about our water plastic bottle problem loudly, clearly and often. Lets start conversations with family members and friends.

    Even calling our local and federal representatives to support bottle bills and insisting on increased producer responsibility for reuse and recycling can make the difference in what kind of world it will be by 2050.

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