I am ashamed to admit that buying bottles of water once or twice a week had become a habit of mine. After all, I get thirsty when I’m out and about, and the SIGG bottle that an eco-conscious friend gave me a few years ago was starting to get funky.
Then I became pregnant, and my husband, who’d read some scary stuff about BPA in plastic water bottles, begged me to stop drinking bottled water.
So I went out and found a new travel bottle, one that is BPA-free and has a wide enough mouth that I can clean it thoroughly. Now, I’m actually quite proud of myself with how few bottles of water I’ve bought over the past few months. Lucky for me, my local tap water supply is quite tasty, and it’s become a habit to fill my travel bottle with ice and water before heading out the door.
Bad for you and the environment
BPAs in the bottles or not, we’ve all heard that we should avoid buying bottled water. The plastic bottles, even though most are recyclable, contribute to pollution and garbage issues — not to mention the unnecessary energy and expense that go into bottling the water and transporting it to retailers.
What’s more, most bottled water is no more than tap water, which is purified and treated with minerals. And if you’re concerned about the purity and safety of what you drink, you should know that your municipal water sources are much more closely monitored for contamination than any bottling plant.
Are bottled water companies ethical?
Aside from the environmental waste, possible BPA contamination and just the sheer waste of money to buy something that we can get from our tap for pennies, I’ve found a new reason to avoid bottled water, particularly Fiji, which used to be my favorite brand.
I came across a sobering article in Mother Jones about Fiji Water, which has long been a brand supported by celebrities, chefs and political leaders (Obama was recently photographed with a bottle in front of him), in part for its seeming corporate responsibility. The article paints the company in a new light, though, pointing out that while Fiji has become the top-selling water brand, the country’s natives suffer continuously from water shortages and contamination. And, although the company claims to help the impoverished citizens who surround its plants, it also enjoys a tax-free status, a perk that it refuses to give up even though the agreement was originally scheduled to expire in 2008.
Just as eating tomatoes from your garden absolves you of participating in all sorts of issues (Is it organic? How many food miles has it traveled? Are you supporting local farmers?), drinking tap water from the source, or toting it in a reusable travel bottle, also means that you don’t have to support potentially unethical companies, or wasteful and environmentally damaging manufacturing practices.
While it took the catalyst of my pregnancy to cut out bottled water from my shopping list, I know it’s a habit that will continue on even after my baby is born, and one that I plan to pass on to my children.
How do you avoid buying bottled water?