Environmental Effects of the Bottled Water Industry
I myself am a firm believer in drinking only bottled water under the belief that it is safer, cleaner, and better tasting. I also believed that the bottled water industry couldn't be polluting the environment. After all how could something so natural be bad for the environment? In the research that follows I will explain just how wrong I really was in my beliefs. I will show that bottled water is in many cases similar in makeup to regular tap water. I will also show that the bottled water industry is degrading our environment and wasting energy in the process.
The bottled water industry is a nearly $10 billion dollar a year business in the United States alone and is growing at a rate of about 10% each year. (See Graph Below)
U.S. BOTTLED WATER MARKET
Volume and Producer Revenues
Millions ofAnnualMillions ofAnnual
YearGallons% ChangeDollars% Change
Source: Beverage Marketing Corporation
Here in the United States we consume around 7-8 billion gallons of bottled water annually. This is compared to hundreds of billions of gallons of tap water which costs around 10,000 times less than comparable amounts of bottled water. But we in the United States seem to be consuming more and more of this product even though we have access to high grade potable municipal water from the taps in our homes.
Municipal water is regulated by the EPA which has very strict standards and guidelines that must be followed in order to keep a municipality running. Bottled water on the other hand is regulated only by the FDA which has only a few less strict guidelines that must be...