Think before you drink: Everything you need to know about bottled water

The facts speak for themselves. 40% of bottled water is nothing more than filtered water from the tap. What’s more, tap water is not only the environmentally sound option, but it also regularly comes out top in taste and purity tests. So, why do we buy water in a bottle?

bottled water

The “health in a bottle” lie

Bottled water has been sold ever since the mid 19th century, when rich people looking for a health fix were buying mineral water from famous spas. In the 1950s Evian took the health promises to a new level by claiming to help breastfeeding mothers provide minerals for their babies.

Then, in the 70s, soft drink giants got worried about their sinking profits. Starting to sell something amazingly cheap at an amazing mark-up was the obvious solution. A few decades and billions of pounds were spent convincing us that turning on the tap was virtually poisonous. In 2000, Susan Wellington, the former VP of marketing for PepsiCo, told industry analysts: “When we’re done, tap water will be relegated to showers and washing dishes.”

In the first half of the noughties, it looked like she was right. Bottled water sales went up more than 60% globally. However, thanks to documentaries like Flow and Annie Leonard’s The Story of Bottled Water, people have now started to catch onto the fact that purity really isn’t an issue.

Smartwater isn’t that smart

With purity quashed as a sales argument, the bottled water industry has a new trick up its sleeve: smartwaters. Coca Cola’s new flagship product Vitaminwater comes in a range of candy colours and is, as the name suggests, enhanced with vitamins. Thanks to the Advertising Standards Authority, Coca Cola has already had to stop pretending that Vitaminwater is nutritious, simply because a single bottle gives you a quarter of the recommended daily sugar intake. Most people are not vitamin deficient either, so it seems buying smartwater just isn’t that smart.

Cheers to good ideas

Of course, there are times, like when traveling to places where tap water isn’t safe, that you need to bag a bottle. On those occasions, try and find water bottled near you and made of light, recyclable plastic. And if tap water seems too boring compared to the mass of flavoured and enhanced thirst quenchers, why not stash your fridge with your own DIY smartwater? Including everything from fresh mint and basil to sliced strawberries, cucumbers and lemons, these fabulous water recipes from NancyCreative are really worth filling up for.

After concocting a few bottles, you’ll be surprised how much of a splash you can make with tap water. And remember if you have any DIY water recipes of your own, we’d love to hear about them.