Is bottled water just a bad habit?

Apple tree in blossom

Why do you drink bottled water? Yes, I am talking to you, and don’t worry there is not a right or wrong answer here. Maybe you don’t drink bottled water at all, maybe just once or twice a week…or maybe your fridge is stocked full with it. How much water you drink and where you get it from is not really the point I want to make. The simple question is, why do you drink bottled water?

I read a short piece from Dr. John Grohol today on The Psychology of Bottle Water that I think brings up a very good point. Soda companies started selling bottled water to be able to sell to consumers who were not interested in soft drinks and carbonated beverages. These companies claim that bottled water fills a need in society by providing a healthier choice to their customers. Dr. Grohol disagrees, “We’re buying bottled water because it’s there and Americans are drawn to convenience” not because we are now choosing to be healthier and drink water instead of soda.

Further Grohol claims that twenty years ago it was unheard of to pay for water in a bottle. Savvy corporations have managed to change our perception of water from something free to a product we spend our hard earned money on. This is particularly problematic because “we’ve moved from accepting water from a water fountain to accepting the exact same or very similar water from a rarely-recycled plastic bottle”. With so few of the plastic bottles finding their way into the recycling the convenience we are paying for with bottled water is polluting the earth.

We have developed a very bad habit, but that doesn’t make us bad people. Bottled water is definitely convenient, but if you find yourself buying bottled water when there is a tap nearby at work or in your home, stop and think. You can save a lot of money just by drinking tap water instead of bottled water and there really is not a big taste difference between the two choices. If you know you are not going to have access to a water fountain or tap, plan ahead and bring your own bottle of water filled at home. There are a lot of great options for re-usable bottles in all shapes and sizes. Start a new habit of saving money and reducing the amount of plastic waste you produce each day by packing your own water to drink or refilling from a public water supply (which is also free). Drinking water every day is really good for you, but giving up bottled water doesn’t mean you have to stop drinking water.

The first thing I do when I get to work is fill a glass of water from the fridge in the break room. If your workplace has easy access to free public water take a moment to think about why you would ever need a bottled water? Sure, it is convenient, but is the cost of convenience really worth it?

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