Once upon a time, most of us could walk across a parking lot or push a stroller down the street without a bottle of water in our hands. It doesn’t seem that way anymore.
While our thirst for bottled water seems insatiable, one question can’t be ignored: Is it really any better for us than ordinary tap water?
- Some bottled water is glorified tap water at 10,000 times the cost.
- Many bottled waters contain toxins, even if they’ve nixed BPA.
- Fashion, foodies, and sustainable cities are taking back the tap.
But the main criticism of bottled water isn’t the quality of the water—or even the fact that people are paying for water they can get for free. It’s those plastic bottles. Though they can be recycled, few actually are. Eighty percent are thrown into the trash—that’s 33 million bottles a day that wind up in landfills, where they will sit for hundreds of years.
But not everyone can simply choose to avoid bottled water. Around the world, 1 billion people do not have access to safe water. If they drank from the tap or from local supplies, they could get seriously sick—or even die. For them, bottled water isn’t a convenience. It’s a life-or-death necessity.