/ Food & Drink, Shopping

Why bother buying bottled water?

Rows of bottled water

I have a confession: I like bottled water. I’m partial to a bottle of the fizzy stuff, but I’m also keen on a chilled bottle of still. But am I the only one who still occasionally buys my water in a bottle?

I know I might be vilified by the 69% of you who voted that you don’t buy bottled water. And I know it goes against my green principles (although I always recycle, if that helps). But it’s just so convenient! It’s all just excuses, excuses.

I don’t buy bottled water very often, and like many of you who commented on our last post on this topic, I often reuse the bottle. But after a while they start to taste a little bit – well – plasticky.

I do have a nice reusable metal bottle I bought when I went to the Paralympics as the prices in the Olympic Park were extortionate, but it has an annoying habit of leaking inside my bag. Convo commenter Nicky has a similar habit to me:

‘I too buy a bottle of water and keep refilling it from the tap. The seals on the bottles seem to hold better than other ones so it doesn’t leak all over my bag. Once the bottle is so out of shape it wont stand up – then I replace it.’

Why buy bottled?

I know I’m wasting money, as I’ve already paid my water company to provide water to my home. But isn’t it the convenience I’m paying for?

It’s not that I think tap water is unsafe – I know it’s not. It can taste a bit weird in hard water areas, but a slightly funny taste never hurt anyone. So I was interested to see recent research that implies bottled water could be less safe than tap water.

Apparently, manufacturers of bottled water only need to test their water once a month, whereas tap water is tested daily. I’d always assumed bottled water was as rigorously tested as eau-de-tap, but apparently that’s not the case.

Green gripes

Of course, an unavoidable problem with buying bottled water is the extra waste created by its packaging. To combat this problem, the Australian town of Bundanoon completely banned sales of bottled water in 2009 and, more recently, a US town in Massachusetts banned the sale of bottled water in units smaller than one litre.

We all have our reasons for buying (or not buying) bottled water. I’m interested to hear from those of you brave enough to own up to this habit – why do you buy it?

Comments
Member

I keep a 0.5 litre bottle by my bed. When I knock it on the floor it doesn’t break and I don’t get a flood of water all over the carpet.

It is also portable (and potable) when on the move.

Member
Kirsten says:
4 January 2013

I only buy bottled water if I am out and about and am thirsty. I then keep the bottle and refill it from the tap. I am lucky that the water in East Lothian is lovely. Some colleagues at work object to the occasional chloride taste necessitating my work place to have a water cooler. I think this is a ridiculous waste of energy and resources. It’s a western fad and indulgence.

Member
Doug Bates says:
21 November 2016

Kirsten, you are lucky in East Lothian to have tap water from one of the most up to date and technologically advances water treatment and distribution networks in the world, which benefits from recently renewed water mains and good quality raw water reservoirs in the Southern Uplands and Pentland Hills.
See history here
Current info here
Not all public water supplies are that good, and there is always a risk of pollution incidents or system failure resulting in contamination events. Scottish Water has upgraded many of its treatment plants to deal with the particular problem of the gastrointestinal parasites cryptosporidium and giardia, but still has problems delivering safe tap water in some areas.
Scotland benefits from abundant surface water resources in clean highland and upland environments which provide more than enough water for the relatively small population, and therefore Scottish Water does not use recycled water in any of its supply systems, but in some cases (for the cities of Perth and Aberdeen, on the rivers Tay and Dee, for example) water is drawn from rivers in which the raw water quality is very variable and does include some sewage effluent from upstream towns and a lot of agricultural run-off.

Member
Doug Bates says:
21 November 2016

Try those links again for history of East Lothian Water Supply and current water quality:

http://www.el4.org.uk/el4-cd/water_supply.html
http://www.scottishwater.co.uk/you-and-your-home/water-quality/waterqualitysearch

Member

The bottled water industry should be shut down.Tap water is safe and this has been the case for many decades.The industry wastes energy in the following areas: Manufacture of plastic bottles which require oil as starting material.Transport of (heavy) bottled water around the UK and probably around Europe using oil as diesel(.If any of it is being transported by air the Government should put a stop to it now).Further energy is wasted in the form of electricity and gas used in the premises which process and bottle the water.There are no health benefits of bottled water.It is a rip-off in hotels and other eateries.

Member

I completely agree – and bottled water must be one of the best examples of our wasteful society – but Jo has asked for comments from those who do buy water.

Member

We’re happy to hear opinions from all ends of the spectrum, whether you buy bottled water or not. In fact, we’re quite interested to hear from people who don’t buy bottled water. Sorry if the question at the end of the Convo made it sound like we only wanted opinions from those who do buy bottled water!

Member
Doug Bates says:
21 November 2016

OK Dave let’s apply this despotic Government intervention principle across the board and shut down all industries that use plastic raw materials or packaging and ‘waste energy’ and resources producing and transporting non-essential goods or services for which we have a satisfactory and safe low-tech alternative: Starting with the entire soft drinks and alcoholic beverages industries, this would include, for example, nearly all packaged and processed food industries, dairy industries and farming, a large portion of the textiles and clothing industry, the toy industry, computing and electronics industries, the pharmaceutical industry, the entire plastics industry and at least three quarters of the manufacturing sector generally, and also the travel and tourism industries, etc… actually you would have us shut down the entire oil-based economy of the free world as we know it today… We can all go back to the dark ages, ride horses instead of cars, grow our own veggies and keep our own cows and chickens in our back yards, live poor and die young under the rule of his excellency Emperor David of Newcastle.
The health benefits of drinking bottled water may be debatable, but there are many consumer products on sale everywhere that definitely offer no health benefits or are outright harmful to consumers, such as alcohol, tobacco, Coca-Cola Pepsi and innumerable other fizzy pop products, sweets, coffee, etc. A government that would ban bottled water must ban them all!

Member
Doug Bates says:
21 November 2016

‘wavechange’ … seriously?! You agree with Emperor Dave? What can I say but it’s the same kind of blind illogical follow-my-leader mentality that just got Donald Trump elected President and Commander in Chief of the United States….. Holy sh…. people need to start thinking straight before expressing an opinion or electing a buffoon!