Despite having some of the best and safest tap water in the entire world, most of us are buying bottled water in droves. Our love for drinking water out of little plastic bottles is creating an environmental disaster, and we're spending money to buy water that we could be drinking for free. Roberto Ferdman wrote about how bottled water is becoming the drink of choice in American households for the Washington Post.
“If you go back to about the 1970s or so, bottled water was unheard of. What’s happened is…there’s been a marked campaign to get people to want to drink it,” says Ferdman.
This is through a villainization of tap water and the presentation of bottled water as a healthy alternative to soda. Bottled water brands also try to sell a lifestyle associated with them, and these campaigns are working. The average American drinks about 35 gallons of bottled water per year, which comes out to about 270 bottles. This number continues to increase, and by 2017 bottled water is projected to become the most popular packaged beverage in the United States, beating out soda, which has been in the lead for several decades.
While most water bottles are recyclable, only about one third of bottles get recycled. The rest end up in landfills. Producing these bottles also raises environmental concerns, as it takes about three or four liters of water to produce a bottle that will hold one liter of water.