Home Clean Eating Boot Camp The Story Of Bottled Water

The Story Of Bottled Water

by Erika Nicole Kendall

Many people tout the personal health benefits of clean eating – weight loss, improved energy levels, decreased instances of illness – but one small (yet huge) facet of clean eating involves the health of our environment. This concept is called “reducing your carbon footprint.”

What is your “carbon footprint?” It’s a clever way of describing the impact your daily activities have on your environment. If you drive an hour long commute, the amount of oil burned and emissions released from your car have an impact. The amount of energy your home uses also has an impact. Obviously (and unfortunately), some things we simply cannot compromise. If you have to drive that commute, you have to do what you have to do.

However.. you know what has an impact that also is easily reduced? Trash generated from food and drinks. If you are truly reducing the amount of processed food in your life, you should notice that there are less boxes and cans for you to have to throw away… especially if you’re not already recycling. Cutting back on the processed food not only benefits your health, but it reduces the amount of trash you generate which is sooooo much better for the environment.

What am I getting at, here? Simple. The one most wasteful, most useless, most pointless source of trash in the United States… is bottled water.

I can hear you now…

“But… [insert excuse]..”

…no. Watch the video. At work? The transcript is pasted below for your reading enjoyment.

One of the problems with trying to use less stuff is that sometimes we feel like we really need it. What if you live in a city like, say, Cleveland and you want a glass of water? Are you going to take your chances and get it from the city tap? Or should you reach for a bottle of water that comes from the pristine rainforests of… Fiji?

Well, Fiji brand water thought the answer to this question was obvious. So they built a whole ad campaign around it. It turned out to be one of the dumbest moves in advertising history.

See the city of Cleveland didn’t like being the butt of Fiji’s joke so they did some tests and guess what? These tests showed a glass of Fiji water is lower quality, it loses taste tests against Cleveland tap and costs thousands of times more.

This story is typical of what happens when you test bottled water against tap water.

Is it cleaner? Sometimes, sometimes not: in many ways, bottled water is less regulated than tap.

Is it tastier? In taste tests across the country, people consistently choose tap over bottled water.
These bottled water companies say they’re just meeting consumer demand – But who would demand a less sustainable, less tasty, way more expensive product, especially one you can get almost free in your kitchen? Bottled water costs about 2000 times more than tap water. Can you imagine paying 2000 times the price of anything else? How about a $10,000 sandwich?

Yet people in the U.S. buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week. That’s enough to circle the globe more than times. How did this come to be? Well it all goes back to how our materials economy works and one of its key drivers which is known as manufactured demand.

If companies want to keep growing, they have to keep selling more and more stuff. In the 1970s giant soft drink companies got worried as their growth projections started to level off. There’s only so much soda a person can drink. Plus it wouldn’t be long before people began realizing that soda is not that healthy and turned back to – gasp – drinking tap water.

Well, the companies found their next big idea in a silly designer product that most people laughed at as a passing yuppie fad. Water is free, people said back then, what will they sell us next, air?

So how do you get people to buy this fringe product? Simple: You manufacture demand. How do you do that? Well, imagine you’re in charge of a bottled water company.

Since people aren’t lining up to trade their hard earned money for your unnecessary product, you make them feel scared and insecure if they don’t have it. And that’s exactly what the bottled water industry did. One of their first marketing tactics was to scare people about tap water, with ads like Fiji’s Cleveland campaign.

“When we’re done,” one top water exec said, “tap water will be relegated to showers and washing dishes.”
Next, you hide the reality of your product behind images of pure fantasy. Have you ever noticed how bottled water tries to seduce us with pictures of mountains streams and pristine nature? But guess where a third of all bottled water in the U.S. actually comes from? The tap! Pepsi’s Aquafina and Coke’s Dasani are two of the many brands that are really filtered tap water.

But the pristine nature lie goes much deeper. In a recent full page ad, Nestlé said: “bottled water is the most environmentally responsible consumer product in the world.” What?! They’re trashing the environment all along the product’s life cycle. Exactly how is that environmentally responsible?

The problems start here with extraction and production where oil is used to make water bottles. Each year, making the plastic water bottles used in the U.S. takes enough oil and energy to fuel a million cars.
All that energy spent to make the bottle even more to ship it around the planet and then we drink it in about 2 minutes? That brings us to the big problem at the other end of the life cycle – disposal.
What happens to all these bottles when we’re done? Eighty percent end up in landfills, where they will sit for thousands of years, or in incinerators, where they are burned, releasing toxic pollution. The rest gets collected for recycling.

I was curious about where the plastic bottles that I put in recycling bins go. I found out that shiploads were being sent to India. So, I went there. I’ll never forget riding over a hill outside Madras where I came face to face with a mountain of plastic bottles from California. Real recycling would turn these bottles back into bottles. But that wasn’t what was happening here. Instead these bottles were slated to be downcycled, which means turning them into lower quality products that would just be chucked later. The parts that couldn’t be downcycled were thrown away there; shipped all the way to India just to be dumped in someone else’s backyard.

If bottled water companies want to use mountains on their labels, it’d be more accurate to show one of those mountains of plastic waste.

Scaring us, seducing us, and misleading us – these strategies are all core parts of manufacturing demand.
Once they’ve manufactured all this demand, creating a new multibillion dollar market, they defend it by beating out the competition. But in this case, the competition is our basic human right to clean, safe drinking water.

Pepsi’s Vice Chairman publicly said “the biggest enemy is tap water!” They want us to think it’s dirty and bottled water is the best alternative.

In many places, public water is polluted thanks to polluting industries like the plastic bottle industry! And these bottled water guys are all too happy to offer their expensive solution which keeps us hooked on their product.

It’s time we took back the tap.

That starts with making a personal commitment to not buy or drink bottled water unless the water in your community is truly unhealthy. Yes, it takes a bit of foresight to grab a reusable bottle on the way out, but I think we can handle it.

Then take the next step — join a campaign that’s working for real solutions. Like demanding investment in clean tap water for all. In the US, tap water is underfunded by $24 billion partly because people believe drinking water only comes from a bottle! Around the world, a billion people don’t have access to clean water right now. Yet cities all over are spending millions of dollars to deal with all the plastic bottles we throw out. What if we spent that money improving our water systems or better yet, preventing pollution to begin with?

There are many more things we can do to solve this problem. Lobby your city officials to bring back drinking fountains. Work to ban the purchase of bottled water by your school, organization or entire city.
This is a huge opportunity for millions of people to wake up and protect our wallets, our health and the planet. The good news is: it’s already started.

Bottled water sales have begun to drop while business is booming for safe refillable water bottles. Yay!
Restaurants are proudly serving “tap” and people are choosing to pocket the hundred or thousands of dollars they would otherwise be wasting on bottled water. Carrying bottled water is on its way to being as cool as smoking while pregnant. We know better now.

The bottled water industry is getting worried because the jig is up. We’re not buying into their manufactured demand anymore. We’ll choose our own demands, thank you very much, and we’re demanding clean safe water for all. [source – The Story of Bottled Water (Annotated/Footnoted Script)]

You may not believe 100% of what this video and transcript present but, if nothing else, it should make you think. As we focus this week on increasing our water intake, think about it – are you using bottled water to get by? Are you wasting your money (and, at the same time, complaining about the cost of living healthily?) Well, don’t. This is one expense that you could stand to avoid. If you’re in an area that really and truly has horrible water (which, believe it or not, isn’t as common as you’d think), buy the giant gallon jugs and recycle them. Research the brand you’re buying, and make sure that they’re not serving you the same tap water you think you’re escaping.. but those little bottles are wasteful and unnecessary.. seriously.

Buy yourself an awesome and attractive water container so you can hydrate for less, and keep it on hand. Keep it full! Keep drinking it! And most importantly… keep refilling it! I promise that both your body and your Earth will thank you for it!

(Are you a subscriber? You’ll definitely want to come watch the video!)

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Crystal August 24, 2010 - 7:58 AM

😐 I’m one of those terrible people who doesn’t care about the environment. I can try, though.

Erika August 24, 2010 - 8:01 AM

Not terrible… just stubborn. LOLOL

If anything, just reducing those things – like this – can make a big difference. Every little bit helps. 🙂

DRSIMS August 24, 2010 - 8:05 AM

How can you be pro-health and anti-bottled water?! You post stories against people drinking soda but then also tell them they shoudln’t drink bottled water. Bottled water has one of the lowest carbon foot prints of any bottled beverage (soda, juice, milk,wine, beer, etc.)In many cases and places the tap water is not drinkable. The majority of bottled water companies are not anti-tap water. The facts this lady spews are only half-truths. I think drinking water period is important…but having a reliable, clean and healthy beverage is a definite plus..not a minus

Erika August 24, 2010 - 8:27 AM

“How can I be pro-health and anti-bottled water?” Easy.

BOTTLED water is grossly unnecessary. GROSSLY. And until you can prove to me that “in many cases the tap water is undrinkable” – using resources that AREN’T backchannel funded by the bottled water industry – I’m sticking by that. Sorry.

Why would you compare drinking SODA to drinking bottled water? The two are thoroughly unrelated. If the entire point of clean eating is cutting out the middle man and getting as close to the source as possible… why would you think I’d be PRO-bottled water?

The reality is that BOTTLED water is an unnecessary excess – an extreme form of consumerism* that, in MANY cases, is unnecessary – and REDUCING our use of it is ideal. I even say in the post:

This is one expense that you could stand to avoid. If you’re in an area that really and truly has horrible water (which, believe it or not, isn’t as common as you’d think), buy the giant gallon jugs and recycle them. Research the brand you’re buying, and make sure that they’re not serving you the same tap water you think you’re escaping.. but those little bottles are wasteful and unnecessary.. seriously.

So, really. C’mon. Let’s be realistic, here. LOLOL

*consumerism: “Consumerism is a social and economic order that is based on the systematic creation and fostering of a desire to purchase goods or services in ever greater amounts.”

EJ October 26, 2014 - 7:35 AM

The author’s point is simply:
– do not be hoodwinked by marketing of bottles water companies
– educate yourself re the source and cleansing process of ALL water you drink because to do so will FACILITATE your personal health and the health of our environment
– be smart…don’t waste $$ on the hype (did u read the article?)

jen August 24, 2010 - 8:59 AM

so what about water filter systems like britta (sp?) are they bad too?

Erika August 24, 2010 - 9:09 AM

I think water filtration systems are an awesome alternative to bottled water! Here’s a link that can help with making the right decision: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/06/is-it-better-to-buy-a-brita-or-a-whole-house-water-filter.php

seanmom1 August 24, 2010 - 9:58 AM

I’m struggling with this. in my endeavor to give up juice and soda i drink about 5 bottles of water a day.I’m going to purchase a water filter for home but the water at my job is horrible. I’m talking about it comes out the tap pure white. I dont know if this particular building is solely like that. but i try my best not to drink it. Maybe i can just filter some water at home and bring it to work. Great post.

Erika August 24, 2010 - 10:18 AM

Pure white? Like paint? You may DEFINITELY want to do some research… or you may just want to get larger gallon containers and a refillable water container that you can keep on hand. They’re WAY cheaper than the smaller bottles, anyhow. I don’t know if filtration may be able to help with that.

Bannef July 28, 2011 - 9:33 PM

Does the water clear up if left in a glass for a while? Then it is very likely harmless. This happens in my house all the time, but according to a couple of sources online that look legit (and my mommy, lol!) it is just air bubbles. http://www.mwra.state.ma.us/04water/2004/whitewater.htm

However, if it tastes gross, that’s a pain and no fun. I can’t stand the taste of the water in some places (for some reason Florida always gets me!). Maybe one of those filters that are attached to a pitcher might help?

Savannah August 24, 2010 - 10:24 AM

Great post. I live in the Bay Area in Northern CA and we have pretty good tap water. When I moved to another within the Bay, who’s water I didn’t like as much, I bought a water filter. I definitely noticed the difference. I carry my reusable bottle with me everywhere. We have even begun to get rid of bottled water at my job. Replacing it with a counter top filtration system and “spa water” in our cafeteria. Again I think this is a great post and a good way to get people to start really thinking.

Ladi Ohm August 24, 2010 - 11:15 AM

This post really made me think about my current habits… I’m drinking out of a Deja Blue water bottle right now 🙁

When I was in grad school in Austin, I never drank bottled water because the tap water was great… after moving back to Dallas, I got right back on the bottle, buying multiple cases at a time (the water here, not so tasty). I really should invest in a Brita filter.

Eunice August 24, 2010 - 11:19 AM

Great info, Erika! I cringe when I see those little 8 oz bottled waters. Why would you buy a hundred baby-sized bottles that you’re going to drink in 2 seconds? You’re basically paying for all that plastic that you’re going to throw away anyway. Sigh..

Tammie August 24, 2010 - 12:11 PM

Great video! Thanks for sharing.
I’m a big fan of tap water but we had a boil water advisory some years back and we never stopped boiling water in kettles and storing them in glass pitchers. It’s a process that most people wouldn’t do but hey, I like baking from scratch and buying cheese in blocks and shredding them w/my food processor : )
I refill my my stainless steel Contigo cup over and over from our water fountain at work and save lots of money.

Nikita August 24, 2010 - 3:38 PM

I started drinking bottled water (purchase it by the gallon/ purified or distilled) because of the fluoride that is added to tap. I know that they state it is minimal, but I really do not understand why it is added in the first place. I am going to get a Zerowater pitcher though and purchase many of the filters and that should stop the water bottle buying for me.

Jubilance August 24, 2010 - 5:50 PM

I’m generally a tap water person. I’ve had the same Brita pitcher for years & I just change the filters.

Most ppl don’t know that the sources for most bottled water companies is the same source of their free tap water. Why would you pay for that?

I also work in the filter & membrane industry, we make products that are used by both Coke & Pepsi for their bottled water & pop plants, as well as products that municipal plants use to filter water once its been treated. Learning about the industry has put me squarely on #teamtapwater.

Erika August 24, 2010 - 5:59 PM

Jubi, please let ’em know what “municipal” means on the side of the water bottle. LOLOL

mary August 24, 2010 - 7:05 PM

i don’t like tap water…it has a funny taste to it, atleast mine does..so paying $4 or $5 for 24 bottles of water dosen’t hurt that much. plus i enjoy the taste. it lasts about 2 weeks.

Erika August 24, 2010 - 7:12 PM

Doesn’t hurt you, but it unnecessarily “hurts” the environment. *shrug*

Divinely Naptural August 24, 2010 - 9:51 PM

Well being in NYC the tap water can be a crap shoot. Growing up at home our tap water was EXCELLENT, always great tasting and clear. We always kept big gallon jugs of it in the fridge.

I recently moved maybe ten minutes from home in a newly built apartment building no less, and the tap water tastes TERRIBLE. I have a Brita filter on the tap in the kitchen here and it has made a great difference in taste. I guess it depends on your source. Hate I have to drink the tap, but I have no choice.

Divinely Naptural August 24, 2010 - 9:54 PM

I am also worried about fluoride in the water supply… it has a “dumb down” effect on those who consume it for it affect cognitive abilities and a host of other functions of the body. Fluoride has NO REDEEMABLE VALUE TO HUMANS WHATSOEVER in terms of consumption. I would advise everyone to TOSS your Fluoride products, which CAUSE tooth decay, and many irreversible side effects.Europe has outlawed the addition of Fluoride in their water but we in the US continue to put this dangerous chemical in water, even in BABY WATER? Crazy.

Adrianne August 24, 2010 - 10:57 PM

Luckily, our tap water is really good (I think it won some kind of award or something – LOL!) You can put it into pitcher straight from the tap, chill it and it tastes just fine. I know everyone’s water isn’t that great, but water filters are a good option and I just saw a non-disposable water bottle at the store that had a filter built into its cap. Genius!

uhura August 25, 2010 - 12:35 AM

Not caring enough about the environment = not caring enough about where you live.

I’m certainly not a super hardcore environmentalist, but at the end of the day? I like to eat. Food is awesome! So I have to care about the environment because otherwise? NO FOOD. Or at least, less awesome food. Also, I love seafood. So I care about the condition and care of our oceans and waterways because that’s where delicious fish and other things (seaweed, crustaceans, etc) come from!

You can’t do everything, but you can do *something* and stick with it.

Lasciel August 25, 2010 - 1:17 AM

I’m sorry, but I just can’t get behind the anti-bottled water campaign.
You said comparing bottled water to soda wasn’t accurate. But that’s just the choice I have to make. When I go to classes I have to drink something, so I stop by the convenient store or the soda machine in school. There’s bottled sodas, waters, teas, juices. And almost all of them are in… plastic containers!!! Even the little milks some stores have is in plastic bottles.

If I don’t want to buy soda, which is bad, or way too sweet juice or tea, I have a choice of bottled water or nothing. It’s all well and good to say buy a container to cart tap water around in, but I have to drive a long way to go to school and it’s always hot and nasty by the time I arrive. I have yet to find a container that doesn’t leak or sweat somewhat either, and most of them are a pain to clean.

I don’t think it’s correct to attack the healthiest drink choice because it’s in plastic-when every other choice we can make is also in plastic. And when I drink soda, tea, juice I wind up feeling even thirstier. I don’t know if it’s all the sugar or caffeine or what.

Erika August 25, 2010 - 2:21 AM

My dear, we all have choices. Unfortunately, we simply won’t agree when it comes to the ones you’re making, here.

You guys keep trying to tell me your only choices are drinking soda or drinking water… but the only places you’re going are convenience stores and vending machines? C’mon, that’s ludicrous.

We all can and SHOULD do something. I wouldn’t be doing the full origin and understanding of clean eating proper justice if I didn’t address wasteful and [often] unnecessary trash. I won’t be swayed on that. I won’t even say “Y’all can shrug it off because it’s ‘just the environment’ if you want” because I don’t even want a record of ME being that callous… on my own site. We all can do something. Find what you can do, and stick to it.

I’m not sparing BOTTLED water just because some of you think it’s the “healthiest” or “only” choice you have. If you can find a way to use less trash, you need to do so. Those soft drinks, teas and juices make you thirstier because they contain salt – it’s put in there to do exactly that. So you definitely want to keep drinking water, but thepoint of this video is to compel you to think of ways to use less trash. It’s not an “attack.” It’s a request to think.

I have several containers that don’t sweat or leak, and I can’t say they’re a pain to clean, either. Sounds to me like you might have a little digging to do, my dear.

Bannef July 28, 2011 - 9:41 PM

Try freezing your container of water overnight. You won’t be able to drink it first thing in the morning, but by the time you get to school I bet it’ll be delicious, clear, cold water. Just make sure you haven’t filled the bottle all the way before you stick it in the freezer – water expands when frozen, so I think you can deform your bottles a little if it’s too full. (This is coming from the moron who once exploded a can of soda because I stuck it in the freezer… In my defense I was young, and very, very stupid. :D)

CJM August 25, 2010 - 7:49 AM

I’m one of those who religiously fills her water bottle at home before heading to the gym and doesn’t run errands without sticking a cup of ice water in the center console (amazing how refreshing melted ice is after battling back to school shoppers in target just because I need toilet paper). But for some reason, as soon as I leave my town, by car, train, or plane, I become a Fiji drinking fool. So my question is has anyone had any luck with the whole take an empty bottle through security and go to an airport restaurant or a water fountain (kinda yucky to me) to fill it up? I can count on going through 2 giant bottles of water by the time I reach my destination and this method seems cheaper for me and better for the environment.

Bannef July 28, 2011 - 9:48 PM

I have done this before, and it works, but you’re right, it’s a little gross. Always really warm. However, if you eye a friendly looking worker at a store that sells iced drinks who doesn’t look too busy, and ask politely, they will sometimes give you ice for free. I always feel bad doing this if I’m not buying anything, but if they’re not too busy with paying customers I don’t think they usually mind. Sometimes I’ll grab something small like gum though, anyway. 🙂

tdixonspeaks August 25, 2010 - 6:29 PM

Great article!

It didn’t sound like you are telling people “bottled soda and water is bad for you.” If you’re going to drink soda… It only comes in plastic bottles, fine. Do you.(Unless you fall for the bigger marketing swindle, that soda and water in glass bottles are better for you, or taste better *looking at Coke, Voss, Perrier*) But you don’t HAVE to buy bottled water-a good majority of tap water is fine (and I so agree w/ the comment up-post: NYC water is so hit or miss, but I haven’t had any problems in my 25 yrs).

I don’t get folks who turn their nose at tap. You bathe with it; you wash your clothes and dishes with it, hell, you swim in it at the pool (with added chemicals!). You cook wth it, you fill your ice trays with it. So… You think your organs are going to corrode from tap?

But yeah, that Coke will do ya jusssst fine, right? Ok.

Granted, I love a soda every now and then. Can I throw a class angle in there? My brother is more likely to drink water if my mother buys bottled water. Not saying he won’t drink tap, but the fact that its convienent and a set # of ounces-he doesn’t have to think abt how much he’s drinking. I know lots of kids in the hood like this-give em a Poland Spring/Dasani/Aquafina, chill it and they’ll chug it like a 50cent soda.

Ok maybe not so much a class thing as its a “fall hook, line and sinker for marketing” thing. Anyway, good post!

tdixonspeaks August 25, 2010 - 6:37 PM

On another note: what’s the deal w/ sparkling water? Cause I’m hooked on that swindle hardcore right now. Seltzer/tonic/sparkling water-whats it all about?

Tryna get off the soda kick. Drank a Fanta yesterday-33g of sugar per serving. #wtdta??? 🙁

Danielle August 25, 2010 - 8:16 PM

Hey! First, I want to say I LOVE your blog. Second, excellent post. The idea that tap water has somehow become inferior is just another attempt at dumbing down the general public. And sadly it’s working. Unless your bottled water says “100% Natural Spring Water” and then names the source, you ARE drinking filtered or purified tap water. Something you can make at home for free. A quick Google search will tell you all you need to know about the water that comes out of your faucet at home. No, it’s not always quite what we hoped, but isn’t it better than blindly trusting that the tap water that’s probably been shipped from God-knows-where and then put in plastic bottles is any safer? Chances are, it’s not. People, this is just another marketing ploy and one that is dangerous to our environment and health. You shouldn’t be drinking or eating out of plastic anyway. Get a few glass bottles of your favorite tea (Tazo, for me.) Enjoy the tea. Wash out the glass bottles and use them as many times as you want.

Unless you live in one of those towns where everyone mysteriously has cancer and the town hall is keeping the water quality a close-guarded secret, there’s no reason to think tap water is going to kill you. Get a filter. Good ones will take out lead, certain pollutants and microbial cysts. There’s really not much you can do to water beyond that anyway. Bottle water is just one of the bigger scams around today.

Kait August 25, 2010 - 8:22 PM


I’ve brought my (BPA-free) nalgene on various flights, both international and domestic. Yes, airport water isn’t the tastiest but its free…and you can usually ask one of the restaurants for cup of ice. For some reason I feel like ice cold water just tastes better..

I usually hook mine right around the arm of my carry-on so I don’t even have to think about it. Haven’t had any problems in multiple countries and states.

Hope that helps!

Sarah August 25, 2010 - 10:37 PM

For anyone looking for a good container for water, I’ve found that a regular old stainless steel thermos does the trick nicely: it keeps the liquid nice and cold, and the outside doesn’t sweat very much. We use a Brita filter at home, and it does reduce that “tap” taste from the water.

The best water I ever had was when I was growing up. We lived in the city, but drove about an hour once a month out into the country to a spring which was right on the side of the road. A lot of people used this spring, and the water was naturally cold and truly phenomenal. We had the giant gallon plastic bottles that we would refill and store.

Depending on where you live, and what your time is like, this may not be a feasible option. But it might be worthwhile to put out some feelers to see if there’s a spring close enough to you. The old spring I mentioned had its spring pipe dislodged, so I asked my Facebook and Twitter friends if they knew of one. Turns out there was one only 30 minutes away!

noiresky August 26, 2010 - 7:44 AM

Great and so on time. Our home tap water is down right gross. It constantly smells of a little cholorine and or fish. So I have been buying bottled water but that has become costly and wasteful (California CRV tax is no joke) I decided to switch to a Brita water pitcher because I heard good things about it and my brother bought me a stainless steel refillable water jug to carry with me. I think its something every can consider doing, if not for the enviorment but definitely for your pocketbook

CJM August 26, 2010 - 8:58 AM

Thanks Kait. I’m going to make myself try that the next time because I can get a really nice water bottle for the price of two airport Fiji bottles.

@tdixonspeaks. I do keep twelve packs of berry LaCroix (3.50 at Kroger) around. It’s more like “essence of berry” than say the old clearly canadian sweet berry. Basically it’s just carbonated water with very a little berry taste, negligible calories and sodium, and its it an aluminum can that goes directly in the recycle bin. I think I’m the only person I know that actually likes it.

For tap water with “taste” I use the glass jars I get milk in (I know they say you’re not supposed to but I run them through boiling water)and add mint, or limes, or ginger, or whatever to the water and keep that in the fridge.

Ty August 28, 2010 - 9:14 AM

I beg to differ. Maybe I just have a highly refined sense of taste, lol, but I definitely know the difference between true bottled and tap water. Some bottled water comes from tap water, like Dasani (it is one of the few waters that does not list a source) and I don’t like the taste and I don’t drink it. In a place like New Orleans where I live, the tap water may be safe, but it tastes disgusting.

I like distilled water. It tastes purer and cleaner. I buy gallons of it and refill my reusable water containers that hold 3 to 4 cups of water in the morning. But recently we started filtering our own tap water and that works pretty well too and the taste is much better.

Erika August 28, 2010 - 9:23 AM

With what, exactly, are you disagreeing? I conceded that there are a few areas in the US too industrialized and polluted to have a respectable water source (which is also addressed in the video), but that’s not the issue, here. The issue is the trash it creates, not the need for an outside resource.

We all may not be able to cut out ALL the unnecessary trash, but it sounds like you’re doing something… and that’s good to me. 🙂

DrMom August 28, 2010 - 10:08 AM

Thanks so much for the post, it is really frightening how CLUELESS people are. I know they’d be stunned and amazed at the carcinogens in household consumables and make-up. Keep up the fight!

Tracy September 1, 2010 - 12:48 PM

I guess each person has different taste buds. Like Ty, I live in New Orleans, but I actually like the tap water. Now, let me state that I am a tap water junkie that will be entering rehab. I used to drink tap water all the time. We would fill a pitcher in my house and refrigerate it. Once good and cold, it would be great. But, over time, I got a little snobby, fell for the “manufactured demand” and started drinking bottled water. In an attempt to save money and reduce my carbon footprint, I’ll be buying a Brita pitcher or filter (for the times when we have “issues” with the mighty Mississippi–like chemical or oil spills) and a good ol’ refillable water bottle.

While some water is not too tasty, I really think that a majority of the water issues that people express are in their minds. Once you are significantly brainwashed into believing that bottled water is better and that tap water will kill you, it’s hard to bounce back. I’m gonna do my best to undo the brainwashing that bottled water companies have subjected me to.

Erika September 1, 2010 - 12:50 PM

You said it more eloquently than I could’ve – I’m glad you said it… because I’d given up. LOL 🙂

Yolanda November 20, 2010 - 1:38 AM

I’ll give a thumbs up to the water filters as well. I lived in one of those square states in the middle of the country for five years and the water tasted HORRIBLE. So I bought a PUR pitcher and filters. I got better tasting water that was cheaper than buying cases and cases of bottled water.

Yolanda November 20, 2010 - 1:41 AM


I was born and raised in New Orleans. Trust me… the water in that square state was nasty. It was not in my mind. Also, we started getting Kentwood water delivered when I was about ten because my mom kept getting bladder infections and the doctor told her to stop drinking tap water. When she did, she didn’t get another bladder infection. There was something in that New Orleans water that was making her sick.

Nichole December 29, 2011 - 5:28 AM

I live in New Orleans too, we drank the city’s tap water but when my niece after moving here 4 months earlier started to develop a lump that would vary in size under one of her nipples at 9 years old. Puberty in our family usually doesn’t start until 16-19 so we took her to the pediatrician, she stated that it was breast tissue and blamed the city’s tap water which contains high levels of estrogen and prozac she recommended for her to quit drinking it. We have been buying bottled water and the “lump” has almost completely disappeared, I want to get water service from Kentwood Springs because I dislike all the waste that bottled water creates and I cant find any water filters that remove hormones in the water besides reverse osmosis which is not and option because we rent and I don’t think that is the kind of thing you can install on a rental. I would like to know if anyone can find any information on hormone levels in Kentwood Springs water services or an affordable option for a renter to use to filter their water. According to many sites the hormone levels in drinking water is beginning to become are problem and bottled or service water isn’t necessarily the answer because there may still be hormones in that water as well. If anyone reading this has any useful information about this please post it.

Myonie August 23, 2012 - 11:18 AM

I’ve never heard of tap water causing such things, doesn’t mean it can’t, I just never heard. Wondering, although your side of the family doesn’t develop until 16-19, could the girls other parent side develop sooner? Also had that ever happened to other young girls in your family born and or raised on the same tap water?

Crystal January 18, 2011 - 11:46 PM

Hey Ericka just found out about your site and I love it!!! I wanted to let you know about these cool water bottles called Vapor (i seen these at the AIA bookstore and said i got to have it)…There philosophy is the same as this bottle water is a waste!!!!

Erika January 19, 2011 - 6:55 AM

Ohh… these? http://vapur.us/ 🙂

Shante January 19, 2011 - 10:24 AM

I am just now seeing this and I will be emailing this to my father. He is just too much buying cases of bottled water even though the house has a built in water filter system. At my mothers we have a well so no bottled water there.
For the people that claim they have no choice but to buy bottled water because they are afraid of tap water at work or school, there is a solution. Water bottles with built in filters!! I’ve been meaning to buy a few for my father and myself. Just think of all of the money you can save in a year buying on of these. They also come in price ranges that will fit into anyone’s budget and really once you factor in the savings it is a no brainer.

Caitlin May 9, 2011 - 4:28 PM

Wow, I had no idea bottled water was such a controversial topic!

One thing that keeps me from buying bottled water is knowing the politics and economics behind it. Big ole beverage companies are paying a pittance for the right to the springs that would otherwise be used to feed municipal water sources, then turning around and selling it to us at some obscene mark-up. I can’t help but feel offended by that.

Erika September 1, 2011 - 7:29 PM

Maybe people need a article on what’s holding that precious liquid: the plastic and what it contains. How many bottle water labels say “BPA-free” on them? Or how many of us understand what PET plastics release? I think we need to worrying more about what’s holding that pricey water that many of us think is so much better.

“Scientists in Germany have found that PET plastics — the kind used to make water bottles, among many other common products — may also harbor hormone-disrupting chemicals that leach into the water.

It’s too soon to say whether drinking out of PET plastic bottles is harmful to human health, said lead researcher Martin Wagner, an ecotoxicologist at Goethe University in Frankfurt. But it now appears possible that some as-yet unidentified chemicals in these plastics have the potential to interfere with estrogen and other reproductive hormones, just as the infamous plasticizers BPA and phthalates do.” – Discovery Channel News Online

Pretty deep eh?…

I love the stainless steel bottles they are coming out with. It keeps tap water colder, easy to clean and chemical free. I don’t know if we can post links or not. There is plenty of information on the different types of bottles people can use and reuse.

Miz Toni October 29, 2011 - 12:44 PM

I was never a really big bottled water drinker but at one point I started to get the message that my tap water is not safe. For about a year I would only buy bottled water for me and my family. but that was becoming to expensive and I started to get more info that bottled water was really bad for the environment. So I decided to buy a water filter and I filter my tap water. I never looked back. The idea of buying water was pretty ridiculous when you think that we probably have some of the cleanest water compared to many places on the planet. then about a year ago I heard this report about how some bottled water was really filtered tap water and some water was the exact same as my tap water. I was glad that I got the message early that bottled water was a monumental waste of money, environmental resources and grossly bad for the planet. I’m gad that that bottled water sales are down. I always tell my friends, co-workers and family that bottles water should be a no no. Everyone can do their part. Hope it’s not too late.

1beautifullymade October 30, 2011 - 2:07 PM

Thank you Erika, this was great. About four years ago, I had my family switch over from bottled water to tap, because prior to that we went through a financially difficult time where we just couldn’t afford the “luxury” of bottled water.At first my husband and kids complained and complained….than after about a month it was just first nature to go for the tap. We never went back….no matter where we go, we drink the tap water or the water that is filtered through the fridge. I also started allowing my kids to only drink warm water or tea with their dinner because I was told that cold water slows down the digestion of food. Have you heard anything like that?

Nicole November 21, 2011 - 10:02 PM

I’ve recently purchased a BPA free 32oz water bottle that I refill from my tap. I’ve always thought it was silly to spend so much money on cases of bottled water, but the people in my household insisted on it because tap water tastes SO bad. There are a LOT of brands whose water tastes EXACTLY like tap (I’m looking at YOU Dasani and Aquafina), but others like Nestle, Fiji, Evian and Pellegrino just TASTE so clean and pure … none of that gross chlorine after taste. That “pure” feeling gets to you after a while and makes tap water unbearable.

I wonder if there is any way that municipalities can start filtering the water more efficiently or adding certain minerals to tap water to make it taste better. I have a PUR filter on my kitchen sink because the tap water where I live (Jacksonville, FL) is hard and tastes awful. Unfortunately the filter aonly does so much and I rely heavily on lemons, limes and cucumbers to make my water palatable enough to get down my 1/2 – 3/4 of a gallon/day. Every place I’ve lived (MN, MO) save for Memphis, TN has had hard terrible tasting water.

Erica January 14, 2012 - 10:04 PM

Damn Erika, there you go again! I was prepared to get real indignant and write you a stinky email, one Erica to another Erika, about over blowing the bottled water issue. I lug lots of bottled water containers to work each day plus 1 for the gym. My office water comes out of water fountains and I’m not drinking behind those nasty people at my job. Thanks to you and the video, I ‘ve decided to get a two cute water bottles that are environmentally sound – a 16 oz. bottle for the gym and a 32 oz. bottle for work. I will reactivate my Brita pitcher at home. Any suggestions re: reusable water bottles are appreciated. Thanks.

dreadlockdiva2 January 15, 2012 - 5:29 PM

It is so interesting how successful the bottle water marketing machine has been. While not all tap water is created equal, I have happily taken my Brita filter to many different locations in the midwest and east coast with great results. The key is to invest in a good water filtration system and bottle. I have a klean kanteen bottle which I have had for several years and it works great. I have taken empty through airport security and filled it up with tap water. So much cheaper than the $2.00 and up they charge you for bottled water.

However I also sometimes forget my bottle when I am on the road and will pick up a bottled water. However I never throw these in the trash but usually carry them around in my purse until I can throw it in a recycle bin. I do this with aluminum cans as well. This sometimes makes for interesting noises coming from my purse though…

In addition, if I go to the grocery store and forget my reusable bag then I save the plastic bags I am given. So many grocery stores and convenient stores now offer places where you can recycle your plastic bags. If it takes 400 years for a plastic bag to degrade, then I cringe at how long it would take a plastic water bottle.

Veronica July 24, 2012 - 8:27 PM

The klean canteen sounds like a perfect solution. I travel quite a bit. Have you had issues with TSA? I’m asking because I’ve had to throw away thermo mugs because there may have been a little residual tea inside and the idiot agents wouldn’t accept me simply dumping the contents…sigh.

Valerie Viramontes January 17, 2012 - 11:34 PM

THANK YOU ERIKA for all the truth you post on this site!!! I found this blog last week and I am now reading your posts daily. For all those who question the validity of this posting please watch the documentary “Tapped” or go to Youtube, http://youtu.be/72MCumz5lq4 and watch the trailer of the movie. It gives all the hard evidence one may need to let go of the unnecessary dependency on bottled water. As individuals we can do so much to end this waste, simply by choosing to make more responsible choices, planning ahead just like we do with our meal preparations and workouts. I started using steel canteens about 4 years ago after the birth of my daughter. It was the BPA in plastics scare that propelled me to action and I use Kleen Kanteen steel/bamboo water bottles in my household. I now work in the water purification business providing water purification systems to schools, hospitals and corporations in Manhattan. New York City has always been known for having the best water cleaning systems in the world but due to hydro-fracking and high levels of lead and flouride the tap water in nyc is no longer the best. The demand for purified water that is environmentally friendly and cost effective has inspired my work. In respect to your rules for posting I will not post the systems and my company but I just had to give a shout out because I am so happy to see that you are giving people the truth despite the fact that so many are resistant to the information. It’s not a conspiracy theory. Bottled Water is the biggest scam, almost completely unregulated by the FDA. Also, due to its lack of nutrients our body responds to bottled water as acidic just like soda which is why when drinking it we usually expel it right away. In its filtration process(Reverse Osmosis for most bottled water) they take out the necessary minerals needed for optimal absorption. Ultimately I choose tap water over bottled water and of course I never leave home or work! without my steel canteen of purified water. Again thank you Erika for representing healthy choices and schooling us all….this is a lifestyle!

Adrienne June 16, 2012 - 2:07 PM

There is no reason to buy bottled water. Most are “tapped” at municipal water supplies. Turn around that Aquifina bottle and you will see. Interesting fact about Fiji water – it is bottled in Fiji but the locals CAN not use the water source. Municipalities work hard to keep our water clean and the FDA does not have enough agents to regulate the bottled water industry.

Amber July 24, 2012 - 8:16 PM

Death to bottled water! My mom bought our family a Brita water filter when I was about 6 or 7, and we haven’t looked back since. I bottle up my filtered water (in a BPA free bottle of course) while I’m out running errands or at the gym, and my job gives each employee their own water bottle as a part of their environmentally conscious campaign, so if leave my bottle at home I always have a spare at work! It’s definitely possible to live without bottled water, my family has been doing it for years and I only drink it in dire circumstances

Veronica July 24, 2012 - 8:21 PM

I, like @Nicole cannot STAND tap water, Aquafina or Dasani. Lemon doesn’t help nor do oranges. In fact my taste buds can barely tolerate any water but I force myself to drink bottled alkaline water. My favorite brand is Essentia. Britta filtered water tasted very gritty to me. Thankfully my daughters and hubby like the water filtered via our refrigerator. To reduce my carbon footprint I buy Essentia in bulk in the largest quantity available. I haven’t tried alkaline drops in tap water but after considering this post maybe I’ll try it. Does anyone have any experience with it or anything else portable to address the taste for those of us who genuinely do not like the taste of water?

Tiffany July 24, 2012 - 8:44 PM

I stay harassing my mom to stop buying bottled water and to use aluminum water bottles instead. She has every excuse in the book as to why she can’t change. It always just seemed so wasteful to have all these plastic bottles lying around and knowing those plastic bottles end up in landfills and oceans. It really just seems like a no brainer PLUS its cheaper to buy a reusable water bottle, and a water filter system and go tap. #Teamtapwater (filtered)

PhillyGirl215 August 5, 2012 - 11:30 PM

Excellent article…I absolutely abhor the way the water tastes here in GA, so I religiously bought bottled water at work everyday…But after reading about the dangers of the plastic I decided to research an alternative…I started using a Brita filter at home and I brought a Brita water bottle for work ( you can simply fill the bottle with water and there is a filter where the top is)…Also, I have heard of a company that has a water filtration system that allows you to get rid of some of the parasites that filter systems like Brita don’t get out…They are a little more expensive but are excellent!…Their website:

Myonie August 23, 2012 - 11:34 AM

Hi Erika,

Has there ever been a study to show that bottled water companies are adding a “dryer”(for lack of better words) to their water to make the drinkers mouth dry??? I remember drinking water as a kid and being able to fill up on it and have a healthy water burp but since the bottle water craze I constantly find my mouth and throat dry while in process of drinking it. Doesn’t matter how much I intake or what brand (although I will say that the taste of Nestle water was unbearable when I was pregnant). I get the feeling that just as with the cigarette industry adds more addictives to keep consumers, bottled water comps are following the same steps except it has me running to tap water.
Thanks for this blog and I will definitely take a look at the tap filter link above.

Erika Nicole Kendall August 29, 2012 - 10:24 PM

I don’t know, mama. It could simply be that you need more water as your body grows in size. The same amount of water that quenches your thirst as a kid isn’t the same amount that’ll get it done as an adult, you know? And, while water companies definitely are out there adding weird stuff to the water that makes it taste differently from brand to brand, I don’t think it’s enough to act as a “drying agent,” to be honest.

And really, even though I think most of these companies are the devil incarnate, it’s not often that I say I don’t think they’re guilty of something. LOL

Myonie September 6, 2012 - 11:10 AM

I finally bought a water filter for the sink and the taste of water is great and leaves me feeling like a kid again water burps and all, lol. But you definitely made a solid point on water intake. I haven’t always drank 4bottles(8-8ounce cups) a day but even on days I did it still didn’t compare to water from the sink as a kid nor does it from my sink water filter as an adult. Thanks for writing this article and helping me to reclaim the (water)fountain from youth.

marcie September 2, 2012 - 8:25 AM


Tammi December 15, 2012 - 11:39 PM

I keep my tap water in a Thermos stainless steel water bottle that keeps the water cold and doesn’t sweat or leak. Holds 3 cups of water, too. It’s not hard to find things nowadays with the Internet. Stop making excuses, people!

Janeen February 28, 2013 - 10:30 AM

I loved this article and I think you do a wonderful job in pointing out the marketing that has been done to sell bottled water. I remember how it really started to hit people in the 80’s. The majority of people acknowledged it as stupid. I, begrudgingly, admit to hitting up convenience stores as well. But I know it is for no other purpose than to quiet the pervasive advertisement that I have allowed to seep in. So, I’ll just take it one day at a time with my Brita filtered water bottle (9.99 @ Target) and slowly watch the savings reaffirm my decision.

Evon March 3, 2013 - 2:43 AM

Thank again, Erika! If not for anything else, giving up bottled water shows that we actually care something of our our already polluted environment. Where so we think all those bottles end up? I stopped buying bottled water about 3 years ago; I felt like I was doing more harm to the environment than good. I find it interesting that of all things, we still defend poor health and environmental habits at any cost.

K.C. July 27, 2013 - 11:09 PM

I never appreciated American tap water before I moved to China, where it’s not potable. At all. I miss my Brita pitcher but that would not get the job done here.

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