Spring water is the most natural type of water for humans to drink, and contains beneficial minerals and elements. Rain and ground water filter through the earth to an underground aquifer, leaving behind impurities and picking up minerals and elements along the way.
But the way we have been drinking it for the last 40 years or so – from plastic bottles – is not so natural. Spring Water bottlers take their water from remote regions and then truck it to bottling plants, filter it, disinfect it, pour it into plastic containers, wrap up the cases in more plastic, pack it onto trucks and then haul it out to stores across the US and the rest of the world.
The bottled water industry repeatedly highlight the superior taste of spring water. The general public believes the marketing campaigns and usually will prefer the taste of one brand of water to others. But with the labels removed, many tests have shown that most people cannot tell the difference between brands of bottled water or even tap water. They think they like the taste, but what actually gets them to buy are the label and the idea that the water is from a remote, pristine wilderness.
Some brands of spring water may start out there, but there’s a lot that happens to fresh spring water before it gets to your refrigerator.
Or to the side of the road.
Spring water does contain minerals and nutrients that are essential to our health. All spring water brands generally have the same beneficial minerals. It is the proportion of these minerals that vary from bottler to bottler.
Poland Spring, owned by Nestle Water, has a graph of all the minerals contained in their water. The graph shows that their spring water includes Calcium, Potassium, Bicarbonate and Magnesium, all of which can be found in a wide range of foods eaten every day. It also contains Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate; all forms of salt. Also found are Fluoride and Nitrate, which are regulated by the EPA and are potentially damaging to your health, although the levels in Poland Spring are below the limit set by the EPA.
According to the Nestle Waters website, 1.3 gallons of water are used to produce every gallon of spring water. On their “Commitment to the Environment” page, Nestle claims that their plants have conserved over nine million gallons of water over the last four years by comparing it to the amount of water it takes to produce beer and Coca Cola. If they were to compare it with tap water, the statistics wouldn’t look so favorable for them.
Nestle tells us they have reduced plastic usage in their packaging by 245 million pounds per year. That’s bound to be a pretty big pile of plastic.
How much plastic then, is their bottling plant actually producing? They haven’t responded to an email sent on November 24th, 2010, so we have to assume a 10% reduction, that would mean that Poland Spring alone is producing over 2 billion pounds of plastic every year – plastic that will never dissolve or decompose. What would that look like?
Here is an environmental commitment that YOU can make that will reduce plastic manufacture by over 2 billion pounds a year.
Drink tap water!