Why is bottled water so expensive?

The environmental impacts of bottled water are well known and established, but an issue that is largely unaccounted for is the expense. Purchasing water is now part of the family budget for many –– a new phenomenon compared to previous generations who relied on well or tap water. If you do the math, the differences in costs are shocking! Depending on the brand or where it is purchased, bottled water can cost from 240 to 10,000 times the cost of tap water!

Much of the cost of bottled water is the bottle! In a video titled, “Why is Bottled Water So Expensive?” Derek Thompson, Business Editor at The Atlantic, says, “It costs a lot of money to stand out in a crowded marketplace when you are selling, basically, the most common thing on Earth.” Here’s what you are paying for when you buy a bottle of water:

• Materials, energy, and labor to make the bottle
• Designing, printing, and affixing the label
• Sourcing the water, either paying cities for water rights or developing proprietary water sources
• Filling the bottles
• Packaging the bottles for shipment
• Transporting bottles to warehouses and from there to stores
• Marketing and advertising the brand

According to the Water Footprint Calculator, it takes at least two liters of water during production to make one liter of bottled water. Worse, not all of the water inside the bottle is even consumed, which is a huge waste of all of the resources.

But, this expense and waste has an easy fix. Just return to drinking water from the tap in a reusable glass or water bottle!

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