Is bottled water the biggest scam of the century?
To quote the respected Science Alert, “For the vast majority of people, a drink from the tap and a drink from the bottle are virtually identical when it comes to their health and nutritional quality. In some cases, tap water from a public source may actually be safer because it is generally tested more frequently.”
In fact, a recent report revealed that nearly half of all bottled water actually comes from the tap. In 2007, Pepsi (Aquafina) and Nestlé (Pure Life) among others had to change their labels to better reflect this.
Bottled water costs on average 300 times more than tap water. It’s not a new idea, the first documented case of the sale of bottled water was in Boston in the United States in the 1760s, when a company called Jackson’s Spa bottled and sold mineral water for “therapeutic” purposes. Businesses in Saratoga Springs and Albany also appear to have packaged and sold water. Back then, public water wasn’t safe to drink, but these days it’s just as safe as the bottled water you pay for. The bottled water industry is driven by health issues related to drinking water.
Bottled water manufacturing is also an extensive and resource-intensive process. Like other sources of plastic, the material for bottled water is produced from the by-products of crude oil. Unlike other plastics that are reused over their lifetime, plastic bottles are typically used once and then thrown away. A study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters found that the plastic used in bottled water consumed by Americans in 2007 came from the byproducts of approximately 32 to 54 million barrels of oil. It’s just in America.
Add to that the cost of transporting large quantities of bottled water across the country, or even across Europe, you can see that we are not only contributing to global warming, we are deliberately wasting it. You can fill your own bottles from the tap at home. You can object to this advice if you like natural sparkling water from a highly regulated “local” source. Personally, I like Pedras Salgadas.
To try to justify my environmentally unfriendly choice, I looked on their website, and I quote. “This water is rare: very few sparkling waters in the world are 100% natural like Pedras (a natural sparkling mineral water), which is what makes it so special and complete”.
It made me feel a little better, but it’s still just water, the same thing coming out of the tap. But the fact that its natural spring water sounds so much better. Before jumping into this thought, keep in mind that around 80% of our tap water in the Algarve comes from natural underground deposits.
The only excuse is the taste of spring water, maybe
There is a valid argument for taste if you buy bottled water from a named and specific source. This can apply to Monchique water as well as brands such as Pedras, as well as imported brands, mainly from France and Italy. But before you buy, consider how far they’ve traveled to reach your table, not to mention the cost to the environment. Have you seen the size of the water trucks not to mention the distance they traveled? You may want to think about this before ordering.
I have reviewed many reputable reports and research in detail. I can’t find any that say spring waters have any health benefits, it’s just water. Taste, I have to admit that some of the premium brands have a unique taste.
Why not use your faucet?
One of the saddest things about seeing people struggling at home with five liter bottles of water. If you’re so concerned about your tap water, and it’s totally unwarranted, you can get your own filter, simple, well-tested solutions like a Brita filter jar, or you can even ask your plumber to clean it up. add a filter to your system. Quite why you would bother is a mystery. The only exception is if you have your own borehole or well, in which case regular testing and screening is your responsibility. Water companies rigorously test your tap water to ensure it is 100% safe.
Over 300 billion dollars in profits selling us water
Bottling and selling water could be considered one of the simplest yet most lucrative ideas in retail marketing. You’re not kidding, the bottled water industry was valued at US$185 billion in 2015 and is expected to grow to US$334 billion by 2023. They’re selling you a product you can practically get out of your tap free.
The bottled water industry has a growing market of over $20 billion per year worldwide. The rate at which it is growing is around 10% per year in many countries.
Most of the time, these companies use local “tap water”. They then filter this water with standard filtration techniques before selling it at inflated prices, a process that can now be avoided by installing our own water filtration systems that use the same filtration techniques. No wonder they make billions in profits.
Remember, water comes from rain, it flows through dirt or rocks, then it’s either sold to you with a big profit in a bottle, or you can open your tap! It’s the same water anyway.
Do yourself a favor, just fill an eco-friendly container at home. In the restaurant, you are perfectly free to ask for a glass of water.
The opinions expressed on this page are those of the author and not of The Portugal News.