You’ve heard it said before: Water is essential to life. Our bodies are comprised of 50 to 70 percent water — our brains 75 percent, our blood 85 percent and our bones 25 percent. Water is a miracle elixir of sorts, aiding our body’s ability to digest, transport nutrients, remove waste, lubricate joints and improve overall immune function.
Therefore, it (almost) makes sense that the majority of us are bordering on obsession when it comes to bottled water. This is evidenced by the 391 billion liters of bottled water consumed in the United States between 2007 and 2017. That’s a whopping 10.3 billion gallons of water sold in the U.S. last year alone. But, this water bottle fanaticism has consequences for the planet, for your health and, yes, even for your wallet.
Educate Before You Hydrate
While the debate between bottled versus tap water continues, a little H2O know-how will certainly aid in your hydration decision. Without going too far down the rabbit hole, you should know that, according to a four-year study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 22 percent of bottled water was found to be no safer or cleaner than tap water. In fact, more than 25 percent of bottled water is just tap water in pretty, overpriced packaging.
Bottled Water Costs
At one point, my husband and I were spending a staggering amount on “reverse osmosis alkaline bottled water” from Trader Joe’s.
Here’s a breakdown of what it cost us:
Trader Joe’s Alkaline Water
- $1.19/bottle (33.8 fl oz)
- $0.352/ounce for Trader Joe’s Alkaline Water
- 145 ounces (1/2 our combined body weight in ounces) consumed per day
- 4.29 bottles a day consumed
Total Daily Cost: $5.10
Total Annual Cost: $1,863.34
More on This Costly Indulgence: The Price of Water Across America
Tap Water Concerns
While the EPA may deem your tap water safe, the list of contaminants they test for is surprisingly short. Additionally, it’s hard to know if water is exceeding a maximum threshold if the contaminant in question isn’t on their list. Case in point: Perchlorates, water contaminants from industrial manufacturing, weren’t added to the EPA’s list until 2011. Or, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, man-made industrial chemicals that have been linked to health issues such as infertility and cancer, are used in the production of stain-, grease- and water-resistant products which are bio-accumulative and persistent in the environment, but aren’t tested for.
That’s just the tip of the toxic iceberg. Everything from heavy metals and chemicals to biological contaminants and radionuclides are found in tap water and can include: aluminum, lead, arsenic, asbestos, benzene, chloramine, copper, MTBEs, pesticides, VOCs and pharmaceuticals. Pregnant women, young children, the elderly and other people with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to many of these contaminants.
Water Filtration: Savings and Safety
If you’re concerned about the health of our planet, you and your family’s health, and your hard-earned cash, it’s time to invest in a home water filtration system. By doing so, you’ll also reduce plastic landfill waste. According to the Guardian, plastic bottle consumption in the U.S. is set to reach a half a trillion bottles by the year 2021, with a million bottles a minute currently being bought — most of which are not recycled and are polluting our landfills.
When shopping for a water filter, first test your water, then find the best filter for your home. We chose a “reverse osmosis filtration system” by Puricom to reduce fluoride, chlorine, lead, mercury and other contaminants from tap water, which carbon-based filters alone do not remove.
The savings from the initial investment far exceeded the long-term costs of bottled water as follows:
Zip Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter
- 1 gallon = 128 fluid ounces
- The Zip Countertop initial filters provide enough filtered water for two people for a year
- Every 12 months, you’ll need to purchase replacement filters which cost $49.95 for a complete set of three (two pre-filters and one post filter)
- Every 2-4 years, you’ll need to purchase the ZIP Reverse Osmosis Membrane, which costs $49.95
Initial Investment: $469.95
Total First Year Savings: $1,393.39
These savings increased to over $1,800 the second year. So, really, ask yourself: Isn’t it time to start sipping your way to savings?
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