Cost of bottled water
The cost of bottled water is too high. Its more than £0.00. That already makes it too high. But, in reality, its amazing how much people spend on bottled water: even to these extremes!
Glug, glug, glug!
Many households in the UK drink bottled water rather than their tap water. However, do we know the true cost of bottled water? Well, according to tapwater.org, the average person in the UK will spend £25,000 on bottled water and associated drinks. Let’s investigate this claim.
Advice varies, but it is generally accepted that the recommended daily water intake is around two liters each day. A 2l bottle of a well-known branded bottled water currently costs 84p. According to Thames Water, 2l of tap water costs less than 0.2p. Using these figures, the cost of bottled water is over 420 times tap water. If you apply the mark-up elsewhere, the average pint of beer would cost around £1,350!!
Therefore, ditching a bottled water addiction over 25 years (with savings made at the average bank rate compounded annually) would represent a saving of £17,500.
However, this is looking at the expensive brands and, as I hope you have seen in a previous post looking at how we can save money on groceries, we should not be buying brands. Would the cost of bottled water be less if we bought supermarket own bottled water? Yes, that would be cheaper. However, beware. It is estimated that 30% of bottled water sold in supermarkets in the UK is actually tap water!!
Bottled water in restaurants?
How about when we are eating out? Is it always possible to order tap water?
As of 6th April 2010, yes! All premises licensed to sell alcohol are legally required to ensure that customers have access to free tap water. Any restaurant which sells beers, wines or spirits (most do!) are required to provide free tap water with your meal. Therefore, you have no excuses for choosing the bottled water.
Environmental impact of bottled water
The monetary cost is not the only cost of bottled water. The thoughts above do not take into account the impact that drinking bottled water has on the environment.
Bottled water produces millions of tons of plastic waste per year. The UK consumes 18 billion plastic bottles each year. The plastic used in bottled water in the US requires 47 million gallons of oil per year to produce. Plastic bottles are recycled though, right? Wrong. It is still estimated that over 75% of plastic bottles are simply thrown away.
And, this is assuming that empty bottles actually make it to the bin. Plastic waste represents a huge risk to marine life and birds, which mistake the plastic bottles for food.
Finally, a plastic bottle takes over 450 years to decompose. This means that the majority of all plastics ever produced still exist somewhere in the world!!
The taste of bottled water
“Ah, but I hate tap water”. “I love bottled water”. Its difficult to not sound patronizing here, but the chances are that you actually don’t.
There are regional variations in the taste of UK tap water. As water journeys through the ground it picks up minerals such as calcium and magnesium. However, studies show that most people can’t tell the difference between bottled water and tap water in blind taste tests.
However, if you adamant that you don’t like the taste of your home’s tap water, you could use a water filter to make your tap water taste like bottled water.
Money saving tips
- Always ask for tap water in restaurants & cafes. If the premises are licensed, they are legally obliged to provide free tap water.
- Don’t like the taste of your tap water? Inexpensive carbon filters make tap water taste like fresh water at a fraction of the cost of bottled water.
- Think about the environmental cost of bottled water and the impact that your waste has on innocent wildlife.
What do you think about the cost of bottled water? Do you buy bottled water?