Fast Company

Infographic of the Day: Is Bottled Water Really That Bad? Yes

This expansive graph by Online Education tells you all you need to know about bottled water, as you scroll from top to bottom. Now excuse me while I try to hide my bottle of water. Won't happen again, promise.

bottled water

[Via Online Education]

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37 Comments

  • Travis Seifman

    And perhaps the most important reason - tap water is free, idiots! What the hell are you paying for water for, when you have water coolers and drinking fountains.... (not to mention the chemicals leached into your water from the plastic bottle)

  • Emanuel Pedja

     There is evidence that the boiled water is just bad, but what can we
    do when no such link in some situations we can not? As you can see what
    to do and how to survive without it? This story is so true, but there is no other way.

  • Ralph Fehr (Raff)

    In response to Thomas, I was a skeptic just like you when they started talking about Climate change a few years ago... but now, not so much.  For the moment, I welcome the change... but this is actually scary.  
    I live in Manitoba Canada and normally this time of year our temperatures are about 5 degrees below freezing... and in the dead of winter, as cold as minus 30!  We had a very mild winter last year and this year it didn't even exist...  No winter.  None to speak of.  December day time highs were virtually always above freezing... January, no different.  Today, April 2, it is 70 deg F outside.... and it's been as high as 80 for weeks now!!  We normally get about 3-5 feet of snow out here during the average winter... and this year, none.  A few light dustings but never more than the sun would clean up in a couple of days or less.  For now I welcome the mild temperatures... but what is summer gonna be like.  It gets to about 90 here in July the odd day... but I'm not sure I wanna see a 40 degree increase like we've had all winter.  Something is DEFINITELY wrong.  I'm 56 and I've never seen anything like it....

    I'm afraid for my Grand kids...
    Raff

  • Matt Kent

    Great article. So true. This should be a complete no brainer. Remember, this is not even the whole story. It is well documented that plastic water bottles leech hormone disrupting chemicals into the water. These chemicals, primarily estrogen mimickers, can reap all kinds of havoc on the system. Thanks again for the post.

  • sideshowben

    @Thomas, I can't believe you're a climate change skeptic.  There is a mountain of evidence supporting climate change.  The climate is changing.  It is human caused.  No one is arguing about that anymore.  You do make a good point about pipes, but the water that comes through those pipes has chemicals in it like chlorine or fluorine which are anti-microbial.  Tap water is safe.  If you don't like the flavor of it, you should try squeezing in some lemon or lime.  It's refreshing, and more eco-friendly than a plastic bottle. 

  • Denis Wittman

    Why bottle water - Try American Water's product on LI.  High iron content.  Smells like sulfur.

  • DerekDomino

    The level of critical thinking skills of Americans is so sad.  People have commented (1) that they think FC is saying plastic manufacturing is taking gas away from cars, (2) they think FC is comparing soda and water, (3) they think FC is sayign tap water has e coli.... and this is just from the people who bothered to read it or could read it!  This thread alone is an argument for a better education system in this country.

  • Xadguy

    Enriching corporations like Coca Cola by buying tap water that's been marked up a thousandfold is reason enough not to buy bottled water. 

  • SWBrummitt

    Even if a few of the facts here are right, one of the biggest misconceptions about a barrel of oil is that the whole barrel can be used to make gasoline, aircraft or diesel fuel. There is a small amount of leeway in the amount of 'fuel', which can be 'cracked' from a single barrel of oil, generally 16% to 23%. All the rest of that barrel is only capable of being converted into thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of other different compounds! So, to even hint that not making plastic from a given barrel of oil would automatically mean, that what they were using for plastic could be turned into 'fuel' is an asinine assumption!  Not mention just plain ignorant of the way things really work. This was obviously written by a democrat, as the level of ignorance is overwhelming!

  • Beth O'Brien

     Many of these are good points, but none of you seem to be taking into consideration the strain this new industry has caused globally. Because of this industry, water sources have began to become privatized. This has caused a large impact, especially in less wealthy countries. Water is not an infinite resource and many companies that claim natural spring as a resource are running out of springs to fill the demand. They look for these in other countries. Also, because this industry is booming, the government is looking for spreading this. In a lot of cases, the world bank will not give loans to countries in need unless they agree to privatize their country's water. This has a great deal of negative effects on that countries inhabitants. Richard Mokolo: "Privatization is the new apartheid." This time, it's poor vs. rich.
    The privatization  is causing record outbreaks of cholera in these areas. For example, the municipal water that had once been free became privatized and commercialized. The people that lived in the small rural community of Ngwelezane in south africa could not afford to pay the new pumps for water, and even when they did, the pumps were often faulty. Because of this, the people of this area had to resort to a polluted water source nearby. The result? One of the largest cholera outbreaks in a hundred years. Two hundred thousand people where affected by this! This is not an isolated case. This is one of many that are the result of the privatization of water that was inspired by and is driven by the bottled water industry. You most likely have perfectly good water to drink at home. You're not going to contract cholera. But by buying bottled water, you are supporting an industry that does SO much harm, solely for your CONVENIENCE. It's not all about you, or all about me, when we chose to drink, or to not drink, bottled water. This is a global issue and affects so many people outside of your line of sight. We must think outside our own limited world and consider the GLOBAL implications of our everyday decisions! This particular issue has many simple solutions! Buy an aluminum bottle and fill it with tap water! You can carry this around with you for your convenience! If you don't like te taste of, or don't like the quality of your tap water, buy a brita water filter. You can buy a brita pitcher at the grocery store for $10. This is not only better for the people of the world, and for the environment, it saves you money!
    Think before you drink!

  • Deb

    Bottled water...faucet water...what's really important is what happens to the bottles when they're empty. If people would recycle, then drink whatever you want...but most places you look - along side the roads and sidewalks or thrown in the parks or on the beaches are empty bottles of water, pop, juice, etc. ALL plastic and all a huge waste. Use refillable bottles or cups...make things easy on the environment. Whether you believe in Global warming or not - it surely wouldn't hurt to make better use of oil than making bottles that are discarded with no thought. We could all put an extra gallon of gas in our cars:)

  • Thomas

    I believe everyone has missed a flaw in these statistics. (As the average global temperature has increased, the average number of sea pirates has decreased [there's actually no correlation]) They sound great and accurate, although this is just to an extent. They would be great and accurate if everyone had the water filtration systems of municipal water sources in their house. The thing that has been appallingly overlooked is TRANSIT. The pipes... the way the 'clean municipal water' gets from the plant to your house. What does it pick up along the way? How long is it down there before it comes out of your faucet? Anyway, I've never heard of anyone getting e.coli from bottled water, or sick or anything for that matter. Conversely, I've never known a little tap water to hurt anyone either. I personally just don't prefer the sulfuric, metallic taste of tap water. Anyway, I'm finished with my observations. On a separate and nearly unrelated note - Global warming is a load of crap, and anyone who is still buying it affords me a nice little chuckle.

  • David Ceely

    Jon V you miss the point. The point of this is not bottled water vs. soda. The point is bottled water vs. tap water. Now bottled water is not going to cause the death of the environment, but it is a huge misallocation of scarce resources. There is no reason for us to consume as much bottled water as we do when we have access to clean and safe drinking water provided by our local municipal government. Recycling is not the answer and even if we were to all magically stop drinking bottled water the positive impact on the environment would be minute at best. You are focusing on the wrong end, consumption, of the cycle. If you really are worried about waste and pollution you should be focused on the means of production instead of trying to get everyone to recycle plastic bottles that will end up in landfills anyway.

    And Brian Roy, your state is an example of utter waste caused by legislation of an zealous government. In every other state plastic ends up in landfills because it is cheaper to produce new plastic than to ship it to a special recycling center, break it down, build it back up into something new and distribute it to companies. Maine is offering an apolitical solution to a situation that is very political. They avoid taking on the big polluters, insert well financed special interest groups, which would result in real benefits for the environment and people. Individuals recycling their plastics and papers was never the answer to our environmental problems, but they offered a way for politicians to avoid tackling the big problems we face by offering us something that makes us feel "good" inside every time we recycle a plastic bottle. Recycling is just as superficial, mindless and vapid as the rest of our society.

  • bindy

    Jon V,
    I also coach, but I fill three or four reuseable water bottles with tap water before games, about the same time I make my own. I can't really argue about the drinking water vs. soda, because that's a valid argument. One idea if you're going into a convenience store buy water to use right away, they probably also sell fountain soda, which also gives out tap water. Our local 7-11 charges .25 for a cup of "soda fountain" water, way cheaper than any bottled water. We have gotten it for free when we use our reusable bottles as well.
    I hope you will encourage your kids to bring reusable bottle water container for themselves, which often hold far more water than throw away containers (one of the many rations I give my parents and athletics.) My husband and I told the kids that bring reusable containers that they can end the practices with 3 laps instead of four. It was the second practice by the time every child had a reusable water container.
    Bindy

  • Jon Varner

    I like Kenneth Hargis's comment about bottled water vs. soda. (soda is worse...) Having bottled water in the car helps keep my (and my family's) soda intake down.

    Also, I coach youth baseball and always carry 3 or 4 extra bottles in my equipment bag for kids that forgot water or run out of it... bottled water is great for this.

    I purchase bottled water by the case (16 oz bottles) for $3.50 or so - which equates to $1.31/gallon (15 cents a bottle). A bargain compared to other drink options ....and much healthier too.

    Regarding bottle waste - we need to continually make it easier for people to recycle the bottles.

    Jon V

  • Samantha

    Brian Roy,
    Bottle water has the exact same chemicals in it as does tap water. Tap water is actually watch way closer for chemicals then is bottled water. And I guess you must be pretty dense when it comes to your statement about Poland Spring water. Because if you actually cared about the water you were drinking, you would go on to their website and see that there are IN FACT the same chemicals in higher percentages in your Poland Spring water bottle, that is unless of course you are drinking distilled water. Also, Poland Spring is not only sold in Maine, you can find it practically anywhere in the New England. And lastly, fluoride is not bad for you. It is good for your teeth and if you go to the dentist, you have probably had it applied to your teeth at some point. So there. Know your facts before making yourself look like an idiot. I could go on to tell you that bottling water is making it more of a commodity, even causing 'water wars' when it takes away people's human right to live a healthy life. You can't live without water.

    I would never drink bottled water unless my life depended on it.

    =]