I think we should stop drinking bottled water. There’s no need to be drinking it if you’re living in western communities.”

Cate Blanchett, Actress

Pros and Cons of Bottled Water

advantages and disadvantages of bottled water and tap water

Bottled water is quite popular in many countries all over the world. Most often, plastic bottles are used to package this water.

Although bottled water is quite convenient and has many additional advantages, there are also several problems related to it.

In this article, the pros and cons of bottled water and plastic bottles are examined in detail.

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Advantages of Bottled Water

  1. Convenient way to store water
  2. Bottled water is good for your trips
  3. Plastic bottled water is lightweight
  4. Bottled water is better purified compared to tap water
  5. Contains fewer bacteria than tap water
  6. Protection against harmful components in tap water
  7. You can get it from almost all stores
  8. Important in regions with quite bad tap water quality
  9. Strict regulations to ensure safety of bottled water
  10. Encourages people to drink more water
  11. Water supply in case of emergency
  12. Some bottles are recyclable
  13. Bottled water industry provides many jobs

Convenient way to store water

One important benefit of bottled water is that it is quite convenient to store. You can put plenty of water bottles into your garage or your basement. This means that it will be enough to drive to the store, buy many water bottles at one time and just store them at your home.

By doing so, you can supply yourself with large amounts of drinking water in a quite convenient way and you will always know where to find your water in case you need it. In general, bottled water can usually be stored for many years.

Therefore, you can easily buy large quantities since bottled water will likely not become bad too soon.

Bottled water is good for your trips

Especially if you are on vacation and travel around a lot, bottled water can be quite helpful to avoid dehydration. For instance, if you go hiking, you will need plenty of water to stay vital and fit and bottled water is one of the easiest ways to carry around your water.

Hence, if you go on vacation or on a weekend trip and plan to do some exhausting activities, using bottled water can make quite a lot of sense.

Plastic bottled water is lightweight

Another advantage of bottled water is that it is also quite lightweight, at least if you use plastic-bottled water instead of glass-bottled water. This is quite convenient, especially if you want to make certain trips and you do not want to carry too much weight with you. This lightweight feature can also be quite helpful for your home.

Especially for older people who are not that fit anymore, plastic bottled water can be a great way of water supply since it is easy to carry around and doesn’t require too much physical strength.

Bottled water is better purified compared to tap water

Compared to tap water, bottled water is also subject to a much better purification process. Before bottled water ends up in our stores, it is filtered multiple times and also purified so that many harmful elements are removed from the water in order to protect our health.

Thus, using bottled water instead of tap water can also protect you from the consumption of unhealthy components in our water, which could potentially hurt your health in the long run.

Contains fewer bacteria than tap water

Since bottled water is filtered, purified and processed, it also contains far fewer bacteria and other harmful microorganisms compared to tap water. This can make a significant difference when it comes to the risk of infection with serious diseases.

Especially for older people, bacteria of many sorts can cause serious health effects since their immune system is no longer that strong and therefore, relying on bottled water instead of tap water might be a good idea for those risk groups.

Protection against harmful components in tap water

Tap water may not only contain far more bacteria, it may also contain other harmful substances. For instance, in older apartment buildings, iron pipes still transport tap water to the different flats.

However, the transportation of tap water through those iron pipes can lead to the contamination of the water since fine particles of those pipes end up in tap water.

In turn, there may be many adverse long-term health issues related to the consumption of tap water from those iron pipes.

You can get it from almost all stores

Another upside of bottled water is that it is available in almost all stores. Especially if you live in the city, chances are that you will only have to walk a few minutes until you find the next store which sells bottled water.

Therefore, also the availability of bottled water is pretty good in most regions, which makes it easy to get enough of it right when you need it.

Important in regions with quite bad tap water quality

Bottled water can be especially important for regions that struggle with good tap water quality. Many regions are simply too polluted and the tap water quality is rather bad. In turn, drinking this kind of water can lead to serious health issues.

Hence, especially if you live in one of those regions where the tap water quality is quite bad, you may want to rely on bottled water instead of tap water in order to protect your health from all kinds of issues.

Strict regulations to ensure safety of bottled water

In many countries all over the world, there are pretty strict rules and regulations regarding the production and distribution of bottled water in order to assure a pretty good water quality on a regular basis. In contrast, this is often not true for tap water since there will be far less strict regulations in place most of the time.

Therefore, if you want to be sure that your water has been proven to be of pretty high quality, you may also go for bottled water instead of tap water.

Encourages people to drink more water

Since bottled water is quite convenient to carry and to store and people see it in our grocery stores all the time, chances are that more and more people will switch to drinking bottled water instead of other unhealthy beverages.

In turn, their overall health level is also likely to increase significantly due to the higher consumption of healthy water and lower consumption of unhealthy soft drinks.

Water supply in case of emergency

Bottled water also gives you the opportunity to prepare yourself in case of emergency. For instance, imagine your region gets hits by some kind of natural disaster and the groundwater will become significantly polluted. In turn, also tap water quality will suffer a lot and chances are that the consumption of tap water would no longer be safe anymore.

Hence, the demand for bottled water would be enormous among the general public and chances are that it would soon be sold out. In such a case, you would severely struggle with water scarcity.

However, by storing enough bottled water at your home, you will be prepared for such kinds of adverse events and will therefore be able to overcome those disasters since you will have enough water left.

Some bottles are recyclable

Some water bottles are even recyclable. Depending on the material, bottled water must not generally be too bad for our environment. If you buy glass-bottled water and dispose and recycle it in a proper manner, you can minimize your negative environmental footprint.

However, notice that drinking tap water instead of bottled water would still be much better for our planet.

Bottled water industry provides many jobs

Many jobs also depend on the bottled water industry. Especially in regions where there are not too many jobs and unemployment rates are rather high, the local population may be greatly reliant on those jobs. Hence, buying bottled water can also help to secure jobs in your local area.

Disadvantages of Bottled Water

  1. Bottled water can be expensive
  2. Plenty of unnecessary waste production
  3. Bottled water is mainly sold in plastic packaging
  4. Bottled water has to be carried over quite long distances
  5. Air pollution
  6. Particle pollution
  7. Global warming
  8. Tap water is pretty good in many regions
  9. Plastic bottles may alter the taste of the water
  10. Plastic bottles may release harmful substances into the water
  11. Tap water is more natural compared to bottled water
  12. Questionable whether bottled water is really healthier than tap water
  13. Use of bottled water can lead to water shortages in certain regions
  14. You will often have a bad conscience
  15. Bad role model for your kids
  16. Lack of disclosure regarding where the bottled water comes from
  17. Flawed claims of bottled water companies
  18. Tap water may increase your resistance against certain bacteria

Bottled water can be expensive

Apart from the several advantages of bottled water, there are also some issues to them. One disadvantage of bottled water is that it can be quite expensive. In some cases, bottled water can even cost a few bucks for just a single bottle. If you buy this kind of water on a regular basis, chances are that you will spend several thousands of dollars on bottled water each year.

Especially if you currently search for opportunities to save money, chances are that you might want to cut your expenses on bottled water. Hence, relying on tap water instead of bottled water can also improve your finances and you have plenty of money that you can spend on other things instead.

Plenty of unnecessary waste production

The use of bottled water also implies plenty of unnecessary waste. Especially if you use plastic-bottled water, you will use many hundreds or even thousands of water bottles over the course of the year. Imagine the amount of waste that is implied by this behavior for just a single household.

Imagine now what that means for big cities. In order to avoid the enormous amounts of waste that are produced each year due to the use of bottled water, you might want to go for tap water instead of bottled water instead.

If you urgently want to rely on bottled water for some reason, at least make sure to use glass-bottled water instead of plastic-bottled water and to recycle your bottles properly in order to minimize your environmental impact.

Bottled water is mainly sold in plastic packaging

In many countries of our planet, bottled water is also mainly offered in plastic bottles instead of glass bottles since it is often more convenient for people since plastic bottles are much lighter and easier to carry around. However, the use of disposable plastic bottles also implies significant plastic pollution on a global scale.

In fact, large areas of our ocean surface are already covered with plastic, which in turn leads to serious water pollution and to the destruction of habitats of numerous animals and plants.

Hence, in order to protect our environment, you may want to use tap water instead of bottled water, especially if you live in a region where bottled water is only offered in plastic bottles.

Bottled water has to be carried over quite long distances

In order to supply our stores with bottled water, those bottles have to be carried over quite long distances. In fact, the reservoirs for bottled water are often hundreds or even thousands of miles away from big cities and the transportation distances can therefore be enormous.

In turn, plenty of trucks have to be used in order to carry our water over those long distances, which in turn implies serious emission levels since most of those trucks still use fossil fuels.

Thus, in order to avoid those long transportation distances and the resulting pollution, make sure that you use tap water instead of bottled water to do our environment a huge favor.

Air pollution

Air pollution not only comes from the long transportation distances related to bottled water, it also results from the burning of waste from plastic bottles. In order to get rid of those large amounts of plastic waste, a high fraction of it will be burned.

However, the burning of waste always implies the emission of harmful gases into our atmosphere, which will significantly hurt our air quality in the long run.

Particle pollution

Especially in big cities, particle pollution is a serious problem. Plenty of fine particles are emitted into our air on a regular basis by using our cars or other vehicles. Drinking bottled water can indirectly exacerbate this problem since it also implies an increasing need to transport water bottles with trucks and those trucks also contribute to particle pollution and to the resulting adverse health effects.

Global warming

The burning of plastic waste that comes from bottled water also contributes to the climate change issue. Large amounts of greenhouses are emitted into our atmosphere, which in turn speed up global warming. Hence, in order to slow down global warming, it may also be a good idea to rely on tap water instead of plastic-bottled water.

Tap water is pretty good in many regions

The tap water quality in many regions across the world is actually pretty good and if you live in one of those regions, there might simply be no need to rely on bottled water since you will get similar water qualities by simply drinking water from the tap.

Hence, make sure that relying on bottled water is really necessary for you. In many cases, tap water will do the job as well and you can save plenty of money and waste by choosing tap water instead of bottled water.

Plastic bottles may alter the taste of the water

Opponents of bottled water also often claim that the taste of bottled water can be worse compared to just using water from the tap. In fact, some plastic bottles give away a certain flavor to the water, especially if you store them in hot rooms. Hence, in such a case, tap water may actually taste much better compared to bottled water.

Plastic bottles may release harmful substances into the water

Not only the taste of bottled water may be worse, some people also claim that plastic-bottled water often also contains a significant fraction of harmful chemicals. In fact, studies have shown that even though the amount of those chemicals is often rather small, adverse health effects from drinking this contaminated water may still be possible.

Tap water is more natural compared to bottled water

Another downside of bottled water is that it can not be considered to be natural. Hundreds of years ago, our ancestors never used bottled water since they simply had not the technology for it. Instead, they just used water from creeks or lakes, which can be regarded to be tap water in its most original form.

Therefore, if you are a person who likes to go back to the roots, tap water may be much better compared to bottled water also in this regard.

Questionable whether bottled water is really healthier than tap water

If you live in a region with pretty good tap water quality, it is also rather questionable whether bottled water is healthier compared to using tap water. In fact, tap water can contain even more beneficial substances compared to bottled water.

Hence, make sure to do some research regarding the tap water quality in your region since relying on bottled water may not make any sense at all in case you have access to exceptionally good tap water.

Use of bottled water can lead to water shortages in certain regions

The water that is used for the production of bottled water often comes from hundreds of miles away. Quite often, there are central water reservoirs that supply many different regions with bottled water.

However, if those reservoirs are used in an excessive manner, chances are that there will not be enough water left for people who live close to those reservoirs and some people will even suffer from serious water shortages due to that.

Hence, while the production of bottled water may benefit some people, other people may greatly suffer from water scarcity.

You will often have a bad conscience

Many people know that using bottled water is not good for our planet at all. Yet, they still use it since they are so used to drinking water from the bottle. However, over time, many people get a pretty guilty conscience.

If you are one of those people, chances are that you could get a much cleaner conscience by switching from bottled to tap water.

In turn, also your overall quality of life will increase significantly since you have made a positive contribution to protect our environment.

Bad role model for your kids

You should also be aware that everything you do will have a significant impact on how your kids will behave later on. You are quite an important role model for your kids and if you use bottled water on a regular basis, chances are that your kids will adopt your behavior and will also use bottled water once they turn into grownups.

Hence, in order to be a good role model for your kids, you may also want to refrain from using bottled water, especially if you live in a region with excellent tap water quality and switching to tap water would not be a big deal.

Lack of disclosure regarding where the bottled water comes from

Many companies often also do not disclose where their bottled water really comes from. In fact, your bottled water may be produced many hundreds of miles away in regions where the water quality might actually be quite poor.

Therefore, if you want to know where your water comes from, you may rather want to rely on tap water instead of bottled water since you can easily ask your local tap water supplier where they get the water from.

Flawed claims of bottled water companies

Many companies that sell bottled water often also claim that their water is the best or the healthiest on the market. In fact, quite often, bottled water isn’t much healthier compared to tap water and those claims are just made to sell you on flawed arguments.

Tap water may increase your resistance against certain bacteria

Using tap water may even strengthen your immune system. Even though tap water may contain some bacteria, the concentration of those bacteria is usually quite low.

Thus, although we will not get sick most of the time by drinking this water, our body might still produce a certain level of antibodies, which may make us less vulnerable to several other diseases.

Hence, tap water can even have a positive effect on our health in the long run.

Top 10 Bottled Water Pros & Cons – Summary List

Bottled Water ProsBottled Water Cons
Use of bottled water can be quite convenientExcessive production of unnecessary waste
Good way to store waterBottled water can be expensive
Important in case of emergencyNot even necessary in many regions
Bottled water can be good for your travelsPlastic bottles can release harmful chemicals
Plastic-bottled water are lightweightAir pollution
Bottled water will be purified betterGlobal warming
Important in areas with bad tap water qualityParticle pollution
Strict regulations regarding bottled waterTap water may taste better
May be recyclable to a certain extentGuilty conscience
Can help to create and preserve many jobsBottled water is bad for our environment

Should You Use Bottled Water Or Tap Water?

The use of bottled water is a quite controversial topic. As we have seen before, there are many advantages and disadvantages of bottled water vs. using tap water.

In my opinion, if you live in a region where tap water quality is excellent, you should definitely go for tap water instead of bottled water in order to save plenty of money and also to protect our environment.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic_bottle

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/08/plastic-bottles/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bottled_water

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.

As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.

After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.

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