Sep 04, 2015

Alternatives to Bottled Water Featured

Rate this item
(45 votes)

bottle of water with condensed water dopletsFor years we have heard about contamination of ground water and the rising levels of mercury, lead, arsenic and a litany of other contaminants. That concern was one of the big reasons that bottled water became such a craze. Let’s face it, our bodies are 80-90% water. So it makes sense we would want the purest water to quench our continual thirst. Now, years later we come to find out that all that bottled water is creating big environmental issues from landfills to litter.

Sure, we can recycle those bottles and that’s great. But if we stop and think about all of the energy used in production, transportation and recycling throughout a bottle’s life cycle, we have a real problem. There is a better solution that can save you big bucks and is environmentally beneficial. Consider a household water filter straight from your tap. Don’t go get all uppity just yet.

Most folks consider tap water tainted. And in many cases it is. In many municipalities, chlorine is the biggest factor to contend with. As an additive to the water supply, it helps to maintain the sanitation of the system. As one city employee of water and power stated, it is not possible to purify water to the level of drinking, because most people use it to flush toilets, do dishes, take showers and water lawns. It is cost prohibitive to make the general water supply into purified drinking water when it's used for those other purposes. So let’s take a look at the purification options…


Reverse-osmosis devices, usually installed underneath the sink, use a membrane with pores tiny enough to screen out inorganic chemicals such as chloride and sulfate. They can be expensive to purchase and may be difficult to install. In addition, they can waste as much as three gallons of water for every gallon that is drinkable.


Distillers are effective at reducing the levels of most chemicals except organic chemicals. A distiller boils water and then condenses the steam, removing contaminants in the process. A distiller is less expensive to purchase than a reverse-osmosis system, but more expensive to operate since it uses more energy. Ion Exchange Ion exchange devices—such as iron removal, softening, and chlorination systems—are usually installed where the waterline enters the home. However, these types of water treatment devices may also be installed directly to a faucet.


The simplest type of point-of-use devices, filters trap particles in a porous material while allowing water to pass through. They can reduce particles like sand and rust but cannot remove anything dissolved in the water. Filter devices are relatively inexpensive to purchase but do require regular maintenance which adds to the cost.

Activated Carbon Filters

Carbon material—such as coal, charcoal and wood—is used in these filters to reduce organic chemicals, such as those that can cause offensive tastes and odors. They are less expensive to purchase than many other types of treatment units and don't waste water. Some units can enhance bacterial growth, so frequent replacement of the filter cartridge, which adds to the cost of the operation, is necessary.

I have personally used a sink mounted "PUR" filter on my tap and tested the end result. It had a low alkalinity and a significantly reduced level of particulate matter. Go figure that over the last year a $30 sink mount has saved me hundreds in unclaimed CRV alone.


  • Comment Link E Crawford Wednesday, 16 March 2011 10:20 posted by E Crawford

    Home filtration systems are the only way to go. People to use bottled water still need to get on board and act responsibly to the earth. There's no reason for people to consume bottled water: BPAs, carbon emissions from transportation, waste, etc. Besides, there are fewer regulations in bottled water than our tap water. So, you don't always get what you pay for.

  • Comment Link Gerry McGuire Sunday, 25 September 2011 11:11 posted by Gerry McGuire

    I want a bottle that says "Home filtered water" on the label so people know I'm being good. :-)

  • Comment Link Joel Longstreth Thursday, 03 November 2011 12:02 posted by Joel Longstreth

    What I learned while wasting $ 25,000 trying to develop the concept of bagged water:

    1. every time a 5 gallon carboy is washed and rinsed, chemicals go into the ambient and a gallon of water is used

    2. the companies set up for 5 gallon bottles are openly hostile about change because of the heavy capital investment in the status quo

  • Comment Link sick of waste Wednesday, 18 January 2012 09:51 posted by sick of waste

    I work for a promo company... and we are always pushing customers to buy the water bottles or tumblers instead of bottled water. It only makes sense. Not only is it better for the Earth, but it's better for the pocket and for branding purposes. Get with it people! This article was very helpful. I will continue to use it in support to our "pushing." Thanks!

  • Comment Link Poppy Monday, 06 August 2012 15:46 posted by Poppy

    I've been trying to inform/warn about toxins, and water for over two decades, esp those in run-down neighborhoods & old univ. dorms where old pipe welds leach toxins. In the beginning people reacted politely, as to the mentally nuts -'why wd govt harm water.'
    Yet EPA requires 12 toxins put into muni water for 'protection' but stored in sunlight: a 13th created = no one 'counts' "small amt" of all those -day after day = years.
    When FDA announced intention to lower water standards to those of EPA I wrote & to 17 prominent people (e.g. Ted Koppel) to investigate -protest -at least use media to inform.
    FDA merely put my protest letter on-line and ignored, as did the 17.
    --Now "legal" to bottle tap water, unfiltered, brand it 'special.' No fed reg./law to install, clean/replace traps in water kiosks --unsuspecting waste fortune buying, thinking they're getting "better" water.

    Important to add: to KNOW which Bottled water -Filter -Equip. TESTED/Passed = DOES Filter variety of VOCs, particulates, parasites:
    --NOT Nat'l Science Foundation, the Other
    e.g., Those on military/Army bases where leftover jet fuel was dumped, quietly, into water supply wd have gotten "rare" cancers, new-born fatalities with TESTED filter attached to kitchen tap --AND to: shower head.
    e.g., Docked ships --waste water + leftover 'liquids'? Dumped --where they stand (ie San Diego harbor; Florida); Navy, cruise ship lines ignore EPA.
    e.g., Last WH admin. changed the rules --'legal'/coal co's now allowed: dump slag into waterways "during rain" (--swimmers, thirsty, fish won't be bothered, right?)
    e.g. After shower/bath: drowsy, very dry skin = not just hot water, but toxins.
    The politics that enable disease important, to me.
    People don't know, I'm worn out trying to warn; you are providing valuable service.
    Thanks for the Follow @daVinely --and I look forward to all your posts.

  • Comment Link Joyce Friday, 14 September 2012 08:00 posted by Joyce

    Fracking has lead to contamination, and it might be even fun to watch your tap water start on fire with a match, but not to drink. Another concern is that the fluoride added to the water is also toxic, literally. And no one is saying anything about the effects of radiation from Japan. America needs to wake up.

Login to post comments

Join Our Newsletter

Latest Comments

  • Humans cause brown fields. Shirking responsibility allows them.
    What Is a Brownfield?
  • Hello Aubrey, Thank you for your feed back. We have a number of other articles on our site that pertain to water conservation. Please refer…
    How Much Water Are You Wasting?
  • Hello Allen, Laminate flooring is a great choice. It helps to slow deforestation and tends to be an extremely durable solution. That being said, your…
    VOC Off Gassing - It's as bad as it sounds
  • My wife and I just had "DREAM HOME" laminate flooring installed. Is that a safe choice with precautions taken at the factory for off-gassing? Just…
    VOC Off Gassing - It's as bad as it sounds
  • 203k is a very good program however, getting it is not the easiest process. You have to team up with a great lender who is…
    HUD's 203k explained
  • I do consider all the ideas you've presented for your post. They are really convincing and will certainly work. Nonetheless, the post is a bit…
    How Much Water Are You Wasting?