This week I nerded up on a National Resources Defense Council report summarizing a four-year look at tap water as compared to bottled water. The gist of the report is, environmental concerns aside, bottled water is a load of hooey. Most consumers are better off drinking water from their tap — or filtered in their own home. Often bottled water is not from the pristine and abstract landscape on the bottle’s label — sometimes it’s from a well out back of the bottling plant. And sometimes? Gross junk leaches out of plastic bottles and into the water you’re drinking. And of course, we all know impacts of plastic bottles on the environment.
If you’re a bottled water (or plastic soda pop bottle drinking!) devotee, here are a few ways to reduce your impact.
Reuse the bottle
Check. Had to include that one. But educate yourself on whether the bottle is safe to reuse, first.
A Tap Water Bottle
Because OMG SO PRETTY. The Tap Water Bottle isn’t badly priced ($10-$18), and it’s a good fit for people who work at a desk. And OMG SO PRETTY!!!!!!!!1
For most people, water filtration is only a matter of taste — which totally matters, if the janky taste of your tap water is what keeps you from drinking it! I know I much prefer filtered water out the fridge door over the more-chloriney stuff from the tap.
The Filtrete Water Station intrigues me — you pour water in and it fills FOUR BOTTLES! But I don’t think it’s as life-changing as the commercial claims — “With four REUSEABLE bottles!” — in a way that implies we’ve never before had vessels from which we could drink.
Our household use to have a Brita Pitcher, which is good for filtering water AND for making cheap-ass vodka taste better.
Drink beer instead
Now, these are just products to help you drink less bottled water — what habit changes have you implemented to keep you drinking the free stuff? My husband? He really likes mixables like Crystal Light. I’d love to hear how you make drinking water a habit.
Comments on Drink local for Fluid Friday: take the water from your tap instead of buying it in stores
Mixing in Crystal Light keeps me drinking tap water regularly. I love my lemonade. 🙂
Doing this helped me discover I have an allergy to Aspartame.
I keep bottles all over my life now: on my desk at work (bobble with built-in filter), one on my bike and a metal one (equipped with c-clip) for daily running around.
Here is a cheaper all glass bottle to use for your tap water.
Like! I’ll have to pick a couple up on my next IKEA trip.
I do not like the IKEA bottles because they are made in China and there are concerns with Chinese glass having high concentrations of lead and other harmful elements. I would rather pay the extra money for my health and peace of mind and get glass from Italy where the Tap Water bottles are produced.
I have a BPA-free Camelbak bottle with a flip up straw. I have it everywhere I go. We call it my sippy cup 🙂
I’m with Beca — I have BPA-free metal bottles at home next to the couch, on my bedside table, in my car and at work!
I’m fortunate to live in a place where the water doesn’t taste janky (as Cat so delicately put it) so I don’t have to use a filter anymore! 🙂
We have a Pur water dispenser on our counter top. I work from home, so I just drink from a glass most of the time, but my husband and I use Klean Kanteens when we’re on the go. We also have a couple stoppered bottles (re-purposed lemonade bottles similar to the ones above, but without any text) to chill water in the fridge.
For our anniversary this year my husband bought me a Soda Stream, so we make our own sparkling water now too!
We do almost the same! My hubby bought an under-sink reverse osmosis filtering system that cleans the tap water like no one’s business! It was only about $100 at Lowe’s and he hooked it up himself!
I fill up a 16 oz to-go Starbucks mug at work with tap water, and I also have a smaller mug for tea. I have a regular stock of loose and bagged tea. At home I just drink straight from the tap too.
I used to be all over Crystal Light, because it made water so delicious…but I gave up on it because it’s bad (not calorie-wise, just all of the chemicals and artifical sweetners), and helps retain weight (which I’ve been trying to get rid of). So I go plain now! But if I really feel the need for flavour, I put in a little squirt of lemon or lime juice.
I remember hearing in college from my professor that bottled water is regulated by the FDA while tap water is regulated by the EPA which has stricter rules for what can and can’t go in water. Think about the chemicals that go in some foods nowadays which is fine by FDA standards and I’ll pick the tap any day.
I don’t often recommend someone watch Pen & Teller’s Bullshit, but their episode on bottled water is awesome.
the part with the “gourmet water” just cracked me up!
I work in environmental consulting, and as a result, I’m really grossed out by tap water knowing the things that end up in it and the fact that environmental regulations are somewhat more lax than they should be. But I also refuse to drink bottled water because I don’t want to be wasteful and I know bottled water’s a load of crap. We use this Brita dispenser: http://www.brita.com/products/water-dispensers/ultramax/
It stores more water than the pitchers, and eliminates the taste from our tap water (because I really don’t believe that water should have a taste).
Actually I once tried 100% pure, de-ionised water, which was used as the control sample in water quality testing. It’s guarenteed to be nothing but H2O molecules.
Tastes fucking horrible. It’s hard to describe but I’d put it somewhere between flat carbonated water and ear wax.
It’s actually the impurities that make it taste good, or even ‘tasteless’. It’s just a question of which impurities you like or are most used to. For example if you grow up drinking tap water in a hard water area soft water will taste horrible and visa versa.
Drinking 100% pure de-ionised water is harmful for your health.
You won’t die from one glass, but you NEED the ions in the water.
How do I know this? I work in a lab where we use demi-water (nothing but H2O molecules). The tap it comes from is clearly labeled as ‘non-drinking water’ and every student is instructed not to drink demi-water. Because it is harmful for you. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purified_water#Uses, especially ‘3. Health effects’.
I did say I tried it once. It was actually while I was doing work experience in a water quality lab, I had one small mouthful to find out what it tasted like, as part of a conversation on the pros and cons of different impurities.
I had no idea people would want to drink it. Health issues aside as I said before it tastes horrible.
Being from central Cali, I’m kinda used to drinking filtered water or bottled water only (see the Hinkley water incident. >.<).
But yeah, being that it's just me and sometimes my fiance, I use a smaller Brita filter ( http://www.brita.com/products/water-pitchers/slim/ ). It was roughly $10 at Home Depot and the filters last every 3 months.
Also, I LOVE using the crystal lite water thingies. The Walmart version of it is pretty yummy too and a bit cheaper.
I drink brita-filtered tap water as well. The water in my city has *ammonia* as well as some other nasty chemicals but the brita filter removes them all.
If you are curious about what is in your water you can pick up water testing strips from a pet store (in the fish tank supplies aisle). They are fairly affordable and simple to manage.
I’m a proud tap water drinker! I’ve lived in NY all my life and grew up near some of the beautiful reservoirs in Putnam County that supply the water to NYC. I wouldn’t say it’s a flawless system, but the environmental protections on the reservoirs are pretty strictly enforced, and the water is tested frequently. I never buy bottled water. The water coming through the tap in my Manhattan apartment is just fine thankyouverymuch. And I use those crystal light powders too. You can buy them in bulk so you don’t have so many little wrappers as well.
I love having my Camelback pack in the car, hanging off the back of the seat. Easy to drink while driving! We use a Britain pitcher at home, but honestly tap water has never bothered me that much because you’re getting all kinds of pollutants other ways during a normal day.
It really depends on where you live on whether your tap water will be healthier for you or not – some places just have horrible tap water and as some of you have mentioned a lot of bottled water is absolute crap too! I know I feel a lot better when I avoid our tap water and opt for a better quality bottled water (we always recycle our bottles after use of course) but it does get expensive too so we have switched to using a Brita filter, it doesn’t get all of the nasties out but it helps a bit at least! I am looking at getting one of those big water coolers once I can save up some money for one and can figure out which local supplier has a good water source. I also hear reverse osmosis systems are very good at removing the harmful additives to our water and are a good alternative to bottled but as a renter aren’t much of an option at the present 😉
We have a couple of those copco cups with lids and straws, but I desperately need one with a screw cap too. I often just make iced green tea too instead of drinking just water.
I love water on its own, but when I fancy something a bit different I put a splash of orange juice in it. Lovely! And I take my huge LL Bean metal water bottle when I’m out and about.
A friend of mine moved out of home for the first time and is a hard-core bottled water drinker. So I bought her a brita pitcher. Which was seriously ABOUT TIME for her to have one! Le sigh. Other than that, I reuse plastic water bottles for tap water.
Slightly off topic, but I think it’s important: I live and work in Washington, DC, and a lot of places don’t allow visitors to bring water bottles or other containers into the building (for security reasons). Even if they’re empty. Even if they’re reusable. I’ve lost more than one nalgene bottle going into work because I forgot my staff ID and the police confiscated them. Part of my job is telling people the things they aren’t allowed to bring into our building, and they get SO MAD when I tell them they can’t come inside with a water bottle. I’ve definitely been cursed at a few times.
So, please, if you’re traveling, check this sort of thing first! Leave the bottle in your hotel if you’re going somewhere it’s not allowed.
ALSO: What do you guys suggest for people like me, who can’t always carry bottles for that reason? I’ve been known to carry a disposable paper cup, just in case, but that’s still wasteful (and they get smooshed).
What about something like this…. http://www.thegoodstore.com.au/d524-112/flatterware-collapsible-cup/ ? Would you be able to take that in with you? (I just googled collapsible cup & that was one of the first links).
Me, I also have a BPA-free Camelbak with the flip up straw (like the other Jen!). I have a splash of cordial in it in the morning, after that I just stick to water. I find I’m more likely to drink it out of the bottle than out of a glass.
Maybe a collapsible silicone cup like this one? It folds up small enough to fit in a purse or a large pocket. I got my dad one for backpacking and he loves it.
I live in Denver and I have always loved the tap water…and have never felt the need to filter so I just carry around my bottle and fill it up wherever. Although I do work at Starbucks and we triple filter our water and it tastes AMAZING so when I’m out and about I try to find the nearest Starbucks to refill =)
My boyfriend grew up in Steamboat Springs, Co. I love, love, love being able to drink the tap water when we’re there. I’ve been in Vegas for a year and a half and even with filtering, our water tastes like garbage.
I have one of the metal bottles that I keep at my desk, and another that I take when I travel. When I’m at work, I found that putting a straw into my metal bottle makes me remember to drink the water in it more often. I don’t know if it’s a visual reminder or if it’s just that there’s less chance of me spilling water down the front of my shirt that way. But it works!
I love the new Brita Bottle. Carry it with you and fill up at drinking fountains, or sinks.
I use it all the time 🙂
I’m a brita bottle user too! They’re so convenient. The tap water at my house is fine, but the stuff at my work is revolting, so it saves me being thirsty/spending a fortune on polluting plastic bottles!
Another Brita user here! Mostly because I like to drink water that’s colder than out of the tap. If I’m feeling flavor-ful, I squeeze real lemon or add Emergen-C.
I use packets from a company called True Lemonade that sweetened with stevia rather than artificial sweeteners or liquid Tisane pouches from Trader Joe’s that are honey/sugar sweetened. Definitely helps get me to drink more water from the tap.
I keep a 40oz Kleen Kanteen in my main classroom at work, another one in my other classroom and a cheapo bottle in my car. I am very bad about drinking water but I found that having the bottles all around me made it more habitual.
I dunno, it’s weird to me NOT to drink the free water that comes out of the tap. I grew up with this water jugs in the fridge so we always had cold water on hand: http://www.containerstore.com/shop/kitchen/refrigeratorFreezer?productId=10006448. There’s something about that easy spout that makes it so wonderful.
If guilt works for you, can always tape this up on your fridge to make you glad to reach for the tap water here: http://www.oxfam.org.uk/oxfam_in_action/emergencies/east_africa_2yrson.html.
We keep a pitcher in the fridge with some fresh lemon wedges. Lukewarm tap water doesn’t taste so great, but cold + lemons is refreshing!