Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Report: 64% of Bottled Water Is Tap Water, Costs 2000x More

Popular
64 percent of bottled water comes from municipal tap water sources.

By Julia Conley

Bottled water companies have relied on predatory marketing practices and exorbitant lobbying efforts to sell Americans on the inaccurate belief that pre-packaged water is cleaner and safer than tap water—a notion that is costing U.S. households about $16 billion per year.

In a new report entitled "Take Back the Tap," Food & Water Watch explains that 64 percent of bottled water comes from municipal tap water sources—meaning that Americans are often unknowingly paying for water that would otherwise be free or nearly free.


A gallon of bottled water costs about $9.50—nearly 2,000 times the price of tap water for municipal taxpayers.

"When bottlers are not selling municipal water, they are pumping and selling common water resources that belong to the public, harming the environment, and depleting community water supplies," reads the study.

The bottled water industry has an enormous environmental footprint, using about four billion pounds of plastic for packaging in 2016—which required an energy input equal to at least 45 million barrels of oil.

Nestlé also depleted California's scarce water supplies during its recent historic drought, using up water that could have been used by nearly 2,200 households per year.

Though bottled water companies and lobbying groups for the industry like the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) promote their products as healthier than tap water, the study finds that attempts by Americans to avoid pollutants by relying on bottled water are also misguided:

Most people also do not realize that the drinking water that they can get from their tap for a fraction of the price of bottled water actually comes with more safeguards than bottled water, since the federal government requires more rigorous safety monitoring of municipal tap water than it does of bottled water.

Bottled water companies including Nestlé and Coca-Cola have succeeded in selling their products through predatory marketing tactics.

The industry frequently targets low-income groups, people of color, and immigrant communities—people who may have lacked or still lack access to safe water—for their marketing campaigns. In 2014, Nestlé spent upwards of $5 billion advertising its Pure Life brand, with $3.8 billion going to Spanish-language TV ads.

The IBWA and bottled water companies have worked tirelessly to make sure their products can easily reach consumers. The National Park Service banned bottled water in the nation's parks in 2011, successfully preventing about two million plastic bottles from entering the waste stream per year until the Trump administration reversed the ban in 2017—after years of increased lobbying expenditures by the industry.

The report urges the passage of the Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity, and Reliability (WATER) Act, which would dedicate federal funds to renovate the nation's public water infrastructure to ensure renewed public confidence in tap water, and avert a water affordability crisis.

"The WATER Act will simultaneously deliver water justice to the millions of people in the United States who lack access to safe water, while creating nearly a million jobs," according to the report.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

Note: Following the publication of this post, the International Bottled Water Association informed EcoWatch that they released a statement addressing Food & Water Watch's report.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana has been converted to a 1,000-bed field hospital for coronavirus patients to alleviate stress on local hospitals. Chris Graythen / Getty Images

An area in Louisiana whose predominantly black and brown residents are hard-hit by health problems from industry overdevelopment is experiencing one of the highest death rates from coronavirus of any county in the United States.

Read More Show Less
A woman lies in bed with the flu. marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A central player in the fight against the novel coronavirus is our immune system. It protects us against the invader and can even be helpful for its therapy. But sometimes it can turn against us.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Several flower species, including the orchid, can recover quickly from severe injury, scientists have found. cunfek / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Calling someone a delicate flower may not sting like it used to, according to new research. Scientists have found that many delicate flowers are actually remarkably hearty and able to bounce back from severe injury.

Read More Show Less
A Boeing 727 flies over approach lights with a trail of black-smoke from the engines on April 9, 2018. aviation-images.com / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

With global air travel at a near standstill, the airline industry is looking to rewrite the rules it agreed to tackle global emissions. The Guardian reports that the airline is billing it as a matter of survival, while environmental activists are accusing the industry of trying to dodge their obligations.

Read More Show Less
A National Guard member works on election day at a polling location on April 7, 2020 in Madison, Wisconsin. Andy Manis / Getty Images.

ByJulia Baumel

The outbreak of COVID-19 across the U.S. has touched every facet of our society, and our democracy has been no exception.

Read More Show Less