Bring Your Own Bottled Water
Conscientious living means thinking about your environment, your health, and your world in all your actions. Avoiding unnecessary waste is a key behavior to successfully maintaining a sustainable relationship with the world.
Recently, the National Geographic published an article about bottled water - and the incredible damage that bottled water is causing to the world. The hype around bottled water has been so effective and pervasive that billions of people around the world are drinking approximately 41 billion gallons of bottled water each year.(1)
Although it's true that water quality isn't necessarily ideal in many places - this hardly justifies the incredible costs - financial and environmental - placed on the world through bottled water. If you find yourself regularly purchasing bottled water, consider carefully what your reasons are for doing so. Are you concerned about the water quality in your area? Do your research - the Environmental Protection Agency provides an excellent resource for researching local water quality. This site will give you access to contamination and treatment violations by your water provider. You can also request this information directly from your provider - although they should send an annual pamphlet on water quality to your home.
If your water is provided by a private or shared well, than your water is not controlled by the EPA. It is your responsibility to monitor your well and have it regularly inspected.
Obviously, if you find that the water in your area is dangerous to your health due to severe contamination, unreliable monitoring and maintenance, or due to personal allergies, then bottled water is a reasonable answer. Just avoid purchasing it in small bottles! Many stores will provide distilled or purified water in large containers - one- or five-gallon jugs may be available. You can purchase a personal water bottle to refill regularly if you like to keep water handy during the day.
The waste from purchased bottled water is a serious problem, magnified by the total absence of necessity.
1. Bottled Water Isn't Healthier than Tap, Report Reveals - James Owen, February 24, 2006
Updated by Joe Dolson on 24 August, 2009