Americans are reaching for the bottled water more often than soft drinks. While it’s a healthy trend for us, the environment is paying for it with more plastic ending up in our waters. San Francisco has been ahead of the curve with limiting plastic use with removing grocery bags and disposable utensils, and they’re exploring another venture of eliminating plastic bottles.
According to a Fortune report, nearly 40 gallons of bottled water were consumed in the United States during 2016 compared to 38.5 gallons of soda. The latter has owned the share since the late 1990’s, but the change has come as more US citizens are more health conscious than ever before. Roughly 35 billion plastic water bottles are thrown away instead of recycled annually.
San Francisco is looking to fix this issue by starting the process of banning individual bottled water. This has been an issue in plenty of circumstances, such as sporting events or concerts in the city. These places went toward alternatives that could be just a dangerous, such as cans and glass.
They’ve limited sales of packaged water and have expanded those restrictions earlier this year on bottles that are one liter or less, big plastic bags, and those potentially dangerous forms. There’s currently no plans to completely ban all forms, but they’re hoping this pushes the value of their local tap water.
Tyrone Jue, a senior advisor on environmental issues in the area, gave high praise on the Bay Area’s water in a report from The Guardian: “San Francisco has wonderful, high-quality water. It’s more heavily regulated than the water you’re getting in bottles.” In order to promote their water, legislation is looking to invest more money into “water fountains, filling stations, and event water hook-ups."
Both soda and water bottles have the same plastic pollution issue, but the latter is something that’s completely avoidable. Overall, people that purchase bottled water are buying something that they already pay for monthly at home. There’s filtering options available to put on kitchen faucets or many refrigerators have filters installed and can distribute clean water. For those that don’t enjoy drinking from a plastic bottle, glass and metal options can even keep the water colder when on the go.
Filtered water also provides benefits over purified or distilled water. These filters only remove contaminants from tap or well water and keep minerals that are healthy for you. While purchasing bottled water at work is convenient, having to purchase it in bulk to save money and recycling it later is a lot of work. The biggest advantage is saving nearly $1,600 per year when using filtered water instead of bottled water.