Bottle or Tap Water – Which one is for me?
Clean water is essential for humans. Luckily, in Ottawa we have the ability to process, purify, and distribute clean water to our homes. So why, in 2005, were 60 litres of bottled water consumed per person – a 40% increase from 1999? And why, in 2006, were there 3 in 10 households consuming bottled water regularly over tap water from home?
The reason is different for each individual, but in most cases the convenience and accessibility, facility of disposal, cost, and quality of water is what makes the decision between drinking tap water or bottled water.
In terms of convenience/accessibility, the situation within a home doesn’t really apply: drinking water from the tap requires only the slightest bit more effort than opening a plastic water bottle, and less if you include the time required to purchase the bottled water. But when out of the house and in need of water, plastic water bottles that can be found virtually everywhere are the much more attractive option for most people.
This leads to the next point: facility of disposal. When walking around for any long period of time, the more you have to carry, the worse you will eventually feel. To save tired arms from lugging around a metal water bottle everywhere you go, it can be easier to just buy the plastic bottles and throw them out once you’re done. It requires less work to just toss the bottle than wash a metal one and refill it each time you leave the house. While easier for you, it is definitely not the best for your wallet or the environment.
Cost is an important factor because bottled water seems cheap at only a dollar or so per bottle. But a dollar or so is approximately 1000 times the cost of tap water. Especially considering the fact that the plastic bottle is 90% of the cost, you need to think hard about what you’re paying for. Thanks to its convenience, though, too many people disregard price to use bottled water instead of reusable, eco-friendly bottles filled with tap water.
Finally, there is the quality of water. Bottled water is strictly regulated and certainly healthier than other packaged drinks on the market, but Ottawa’s tap water is not any worse. In Ottawa, experts have clearly indicated that the standard of Ottawa’s tap water is high enough that it is 100% safe for consumption on a regular basis.
Convenience, disposal, cost, and quality are four of the major things to consider when deciding whether to purchase bottled water instead of drinking tap water. However, this is based on the smallest scale: each individual in Ottawa. More importantly is the larger picture: what is the current usage and disposal of plastic water bottles doing to our environment?