5 Good Reasons to Stop Buying Bottled Water

The bottled water industry has led us to believe it's better than tap water but the facts tell a different story

Credit: Flickr /Carol VanHook

Disposable water bottles are filling up landfills, and that’s just one reason to avoid them

Bottled water is not only far more expensive than tap water, it’s also environmentally questionable and potentially toxic. So why buy it at all?

Remember the fall of 2006? When Vancouver was under a boil water advisory for a week and a half because of the increased levels of silt in the Capilano and Seymour reservoirs. Living without tap water for such a short time revealed how important it is to be able to turn it on then carry on

The City of Vancouver‘s tap water costs residents about $0.8 per 1,000 litres, or $0.0008 per litre. A one-litre bottle of water can cost as much as $1.75. Although water bottles, in theory, are recyclable, most end up in the dump. And that might be where they belong. Just think about what is in bottled water.

Is Bottled Water Safe?

Bottled water may contain traces of:

  • Polyethelyne terephthalate
  • Antimony
  • Bisphenol A

All these chemicals are linked to hormone disruption and are cited as having adverse effects on the reproductive system.

In terms of regulation, bottled water falls under the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and because of this water bottling plants are inspected only once every three years. Municipal tap water, on the other hand, is tested regularly. Bottled water is not only environmentally questionable and potentially toxic, it also undermines support for public water infrastructure and treatment.  

For its part, Metro Vancouver maintains a system of watersheds, dams, reservoirs and pump stations to provide the city with about 360 million litres of tap water daily. To ensure water safety, the city carries out over 13 thousand water quality tests annually. 

The water from the Capilano, Seymour and Coquitlam watersheds are tested against standards set out in the B.C.Drinking Water Protection Regulation and Health Canada’s Guideline Canadian Drinking Water Quality. The reports from these tests are publicly available.

Good Reasons to Avoid Bottled Water

According to the Council of Canadians, there are five good reasons to rethink our use of bottled water:

  1. Bottled water leads to water shortages: the manufacturing of water bottles requires vast amounts of water. It takes three to five litres of water for every one litre bottle produced.
  2. Bottled water contributes to climate change: one-quarter of the bottled water consumed every year is consumed outside of the country of origin, which means the transportation produces large amounts of green house gas emissions.
  3. Our landfills cannot support bottled water: in some communities, the number of water bottles ending up in landfills is as high as 80%.
  4. Bottled water is not safer: even though bottled water companies advertise it this way.
  5. Water is a human right and it should be available to all people regardless of their ability to pay.

Check out this great video about bottled water: