The Impact of Bottled Water

Bottled Water, the environmental and social impact of this industry is devasting

Bottled water is the still, carbonated, mineral or spring water we buy which is packaged in plastic bottles or glass bottles.

Sales and Consumption of Bottled Water

Sales of bottled water in its numerous forms have increased dramatically over the past several decades. Some estimate that over 200 billion bottles are consumed globally. 

At an average of 95p per litre, bottled water costs nearly as much as petrol, while the average cost of mains tap water in Britain is £1 per 1,0000 litres.

Britain's £2bn thirst for bottled water has been described as "one of the greatest cons of the 20th century" and as "marketing's answer to the emperor's new clothes" not to mention being described as "environmental insanity". Over 2 billion litres of bottled water are sold in Britain every year and sales are growing at nearly 9 percent a year - representing one of the highest current growth areas in retail.


Bottled Water Landfill


Environmental and Social Impact of Bottled Water

Bottled water has also come under criticism in recent years for the environmental impacts of groundwater extraction, the energy and environmental costs of the plastic packaging and transportation costs, and concerns about water quality and the validity of some marketing claims.

One criticism of bottled water concerns the packaging. Bottled water commonly is packaged in Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which requires a significant amount of energy to produce. There are also significant issues with the many billions of tons of plastic and glass bottle waste, filling up our landfill sites at a record rates and not being fully recycled. India for example, where many have limited access to water has become a dumping ground for developed countries.

The shipping and bottling of water has been creating thousands of tons of global warming pollution and other air pollution. In 2006 in New York City alone, the transportation of bottled water from western Europe released an estimated 3,800 tons of global warming pollution into the atmosphere. In California, 18 million gallons of bottled water were shipped in from Fiji in 2006, producing about 2,500 tons of global warming pollution. (Reference NDRC).

Perhaps the most concerning aspect of the bottled water industry is the privatisation of natural water sources for bottling. This has destroyed communities by depleting natural water sources and taken away human rights to water.


Bottled Water dumped in India


Health Impact of Bottled Water

Ultimately the decision to buy bottled water comes down to personal choice. 

Tapped is a film that examines the role of the bottled water industry and its effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil.