Bottled Water vs. Tap Water
Formatted, Printed and Distributed by the Environmental
Task Force of Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice
1448 E. 52nd St., Box 144, Chicago, IL 60615

Tap water is held to more stringent quality standards than bottled water, and some brands of bottled water are just tap water in disguise. Bottled water manufacturers’ marketing campaigns capitalize on isolated instances of contaminated public drinking water supplies by encouraging the perception that their products are purer and safer than tap water. What’s more, our increasing consumption of bottled water-–more than 22 gallons per U.S. citizen in 2004 according to the Earth Policy Institute—fuels an industry that takes a heavy toll on the environment.

Environmental impact
Fossil fuel consumption. Approximately 1.5 million gallons of oil—enough to possibly run 100,000 cars for a whole year—are used annually in the United States to make plastic water bottles, while transporting these bottles burns thousands more gallons of oil.
Water consumption. The growth in bottled water production has increased water extraction in areas near bottling plants, leading to water shortages that affect nearby consumers and farmers. In addition to the millions of gallons of water used in the plastic-making process, two gallons of water are wasted in the "purification" process for every gallon that goes into the bottles.
Waste. Only about 10 percent of water bottles are recycled, leaving the rest in landfills where it takes thousands of years for the plastic to decompose.

The Simple (and Cheaper) Solution
The next time you feel thirsty, forgo the bottle and turn to the tap. You will not only lower your environmental impact but also save money—bottled water can cost up to 10,000 times more per gallon than tap water. Because the U.S. EPA standards for tap water are more stringent than the FDA’s standards for bottled water, you will be drinking water that is just as safe as, or safer than, bottled.
If you don’t like the taste of your tap water or are unsure of its quality, you can install an inexpensive faucet filter to remove trace chemicals and bacteria. If you will be away from home, fill a reusable bottle from your tap and refill it along the way. Travel bottles with built-in filters are also available. Finally, limit your bottled water purchases for those times when you are traveling in countries where water quality is questionable.
from information provided by the Union of Concerned Scientists

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