- The United States is the world’s leading consumer of bottled water. In 2006, bottled water consumption in the US reached a record 8.3 billion gallons, 185 million gallons of which was imported. The total amount spent on bottled water was over $11 billion.
- In contrast to tap water, which is distributed through an energy-efficient infrastructure, transporting bottled water long distances involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels.
- Making bottles to meet Americans’ demand for bottled water requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel some 100,000 U.S. cars for a year.
- It costs more money to drink bottled water than to put gas in your car--up to five times more--due mainly to its packaging and transportation.
- 86 percent of plastic water bottles used in the United States become garbage or litter.
- Buried water bottles can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade.
- Studies show that consumers associate bottled water with healthy living. But bottled water is not guaranteed to be any healthier than tap water. In fact, roughly 40 percent of bottled water begins as tap water; often the only difference is added minerals that have no marked health benefit.
- In 1999, NRDC conducted 1,000 separate tests of more than 100 brands of bottled water and concluded that bottled water is not necessarily any purer or any safer than city tap water – See Bottled Water: Pure Drink or Pure Hype?.
- Bottled water companies do not have to release their water-testing results to the public, whereas municipalities do.
- A city's tap water cannot have any E. coli or fecal coliform bacteria, while bottled water is allowed a certain amount of these bacteria. In addition, most cities' tap water must be tested for Cryptosporidium or Giardia, common water pathogens that can cause intestinal problems, including diarrhea. In contrast, bottled water companies are not required to conduct these tests.
- People pay from $1 to $4 a gallon for the perception of higher quality when, in fact, the quality of bottled water is at best unknown! Over 90% of the cost of bottled water is in the bottle, lid and label.
- The FDA, who regulates bottled water, states that "Companies that market bottled water as being safer than tap water are defrauding the American public."
- On average, one person uses 166 disposable plastic water bottles each year.
- If everyone in New York City were to use a reusable water bottle for one week, for one month, or for one year it would make a significant difference in reducing waste.
One week = 24 million bottles saved
One month = 112 million bottles saved
One year = 1.328 billion bottles saved