Bad Bad Bottled Water

A professor at Oregon State University says bottled water is a big fraud, a waste of money and resources, and environmentally harmful.

In some articles yesterday (here and here), the assistant professor in the Water Resources Graduate Program at Oregon State University, and a research hydrogeologist with the OSU Institute for Water and Watersheds said that bottled water is bad because companies use 18 million barrels of oil each year to make up to 2.5 million tons of plastic bottles each year. Only a small portion of these are recycled. Companies use another 130 billion gallons of water in the manufacturing process. Finally, 41 billion gallons of water are used to fill the bottles.

  • Bottled water is big business, up to $100 billion per year.
  • Supposedly Americans spend $20,000 every minute on bottled water.
  • The profit margin is huge! Water that may have cost the company five cents a gallon is sold for up to $4 a gallon.
  • The profitability has attracted about 700 different of bottled water. Soft drink companies are the largest providers.
  • Twenty-five to forty percent of bottled water is just tap water that has undergone additional treatment or had minerals added.I live in a town that has remarkably good tasting water and, until recently, didn’t put chlorine in its water system. In fact, the water is so good that a beer brewing company once used the water for its products. I don’t mind bottled water, but I have had little reason to buy it until the past two years. As a member of a search and rescue unit in the area, I must have three days supply of food and water at the ready, and a few flats of bottled water fits the bill very well. Also, in rotating my stock of water, I’ve discovered bottled water is easy to grab out of the back of my car when I’m out playing Ultimate Frisbee or have been running or biking.

    All in all, I’ve thought bottled water pretty much frivolous, but if people want it, give it to them.

  • 2 thoughts on “Bad Bad Bottled Water”

    1. Pingback: University Update
    2. I think it is kind of funny how terribly upset we get over the price of gasoline for our cars, and then pay 6 or more dollars per gallon of water from companies with names like Evian. It’s all about appearing wealthy or well-to-do. I admit, I enjoy the taste of Crystal Geyser, which is pretty much tap water from Shasta, California (it’s really good water, makes me almost want to live in Shasta, except there’s more to a location than water, and Shasta really doesn’t have much more for me). Found this link which compares prices of common household liquids at the gallon mark:

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