Filtered or bottled water: Which one is best for you and your family?
By Contributing Author, Nan Gibbons of Eat Breathe Blog
Although it may seem like such a basic choice, selecting healthy drinking water that makes the most sense for you and your family can be a bit confusing. And if you’re in the habit of picking up partially finished water bottles from around the house, you also may be questioning how much of a toll this option is having on your family’s budget.
Over the past few decades, the quality of drinking water has increasingly become a major concern among many Americans. Most parts of the country enjoy water purified at water treatment plants, and the benefits of public water have been well documented. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, for example, notes that water fluoridation is considered one of the 20th century’s top 10 public health achievements.
Yet, many variables can still result in unhealthy and, in some cases, dangerous drinking water.
The most common means of contamination occurs after treated water leaves the facility and travels down aging pipes made of lead and other metals. Small metal filaments and other contaminants may be picked up in the water’s flow and carried all the way into your home. Also, errors occurring at a water treatment plant can lead to bacterial contamination and other impurities that give consumers pause when they think about drinking straight from the tap.
It’s no surprise that many consumers seek extra protections to guarantee the quality of their drinking water. Two of the most common methods are purchasing bottled water at a store and filtering tap water as it comes into the home. But the costs of these two purification methods are vastly different.
The economic costs of filtered and bottled water
Bottled water can get expensive, especially if everyone in your family is committed to getting in eight glasses a day. Depending on the brand, one gallon of bottled water can cost anywhere from $1 to $4. A single family can consume multiple gallons of water every day, meaning it’s not unreasonable for the weekly cost of bottled water to exceed $50. If your family prefers individual serving size bottles, you can expect the costs — and the waste — to be even greater.
Water filters, such as those outfitted on refrigerators, can be significantly cheaper. A single water filter can cost less than $30, and most water filters are made to last up to six months. Do the math: That’s about $5 a month — or less. If you deduct the amount of time and trouble it takes to purchase gallons of water each month, you can count on even more savings.
What’s the cost to the environment?
Of course, there is more to consider than your own family’s preferences when it comes to drinking water. Bottled water is generally seen as an excessive and wasteful commodity that is detrimental to those conservation efforts. Purchasing bottled water regularly has contributed to a growing mass of plastic bottles in American landfills. Each day, more than 60,000,000 plastic water bottles arrive in landfills.
The polluting effects of bottled water are even worse considering that the benefit provided by the product is rooted purely in perception. With more earth-friendly — and health-minded — alternatives like filtered water available to consumers, bottled water continues to make less sense.
No matter how you slice the issue, advancements in filtration have all but ended the debate between filtering water and bottling it. Families can save thousands of dollars every year while reducing their negative impact on the environment — and while enjoying cleaner and tastier water. That tips the scale decisively toward water filters as the best way to ensure clean drinking water for your family.
About the Author: Nan Gibbons is the proud single mother of her three-year-old son Reid. As a licensed nutritionist and personal trainer, she owns and operates her own personal training business in San Diego. In their free team, Nan and Reid enjoy exploring the beach with their lab mix Cody, putting together puzzles, and having healthy cooking adventures. Visit her blog: Eat Breathe Blog
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