Tap water is so yesterday. Today’s consumer has so many better options for their busy, active lifestyle that tap water has been all but forgotten.

You can choose from distilled, filtered, purified, reverse osmosis, spring water, and mineral water. You can even buy bottled tap water! You can buy water from France, Denmark, Switzerland, South Africa, Australia, Canada, Washington, Maine, even the island of Fiji in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Your drinking water can come from volcanoes, glaciers, mountains, and rainforests.

The bottlers will sell you water to make you more alert and more relaxed, water for women, water with high ph, low ph, water with fruit added, water with minerals added, water with minerals taken out, and water with flower essences. You can even buy water with added oxygen, in case you’re not getting enough oxygen!

One thing they all have in common is that they come in plastic bottles that are typically used one time and thrown away.

Think about this: as recently as a few decades ago, the concept of bottled water barely existed.  The 5 gallon water cooler/fountain that used to quench one’s thirst outside our homes has now been replaced by 8 oz. plastic bottles of so-called better water.  Many people even use plastic bottles of water inside their homes.

We have become accustomed to bottled water because we don’t think about what it took to get the bottle to our hand, or what happens to it after it leaves our hand. Marketing and advertising have played a big role in leading people to believe that bottled water is healthier and tastier than regular tap water.

Given how fast paced everyone’s lives are today, the convenience of bottled water is irresistible to most.  Consumption of bottled water has increased from 4.5 gallons per year for the average American in 1986 to 28 gallons per year per person in 2006 – that’s an astonishing 522% increase in consumption of bottled water in a period of just 20 years!  What will the next 20 years be like?

Now is the time to kick this bad habit of ours and completely break our dependency on bottled water.  Look at the statistics below and decide for yourself if you want to contribute to the bottled water industry.

  • It takes 3 liters of water to produce one liter of bottled water
  • 17million barrels of oil were used in 2006 to make 31 billion plastic water bottles
  • More than 31 billion plastic bottles every year will never decompose
  • The profit margins for bottled water are 25 to 30 percent
  • 2001-2006 saw an excess of 40% growth in millions of dollars
  • Over 90 percent of the cost of bottled water goes to bottling, packaging, shipping, marketing, retailing, and profit

The best thing to do is to say an emphatic ‘NO!’ to bottled water.  Always make it a point to carry water with you when you leave your home, so you don’t have to support the bottled water industry. Invest in in-house tap water filtration units to purify and carry your own water if you are concerned about the purity of tap water.  Refill at those water coolers that are lonely from popular neglect.

Let’s all pledge to Refuse Bottled Water and Refill instead today. This small step will make a big difference in the grand scheme of making this earth a better place to live in.

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By Leena Sukumar and John Messerschmidt