Everyday Cheapskate: How to Ditch the Plastic Bottled Water
The trouble with plastic bottled water, experts say, is not the water. It's the plastic bottles the water comes in that are potentially harmful to our health and environment.
The folks at the Mayo Clinic say we need to be concerned about BPA, often used in containers that store food and beverages such as water bottles. Exposure to BPA, they say, is a concern because of possible health effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. The Food and Drug Administration suggests that very low-level exposure to BPA is safe, however, the agency is engaged in ongoing research. Sounds scary to me.
Health issues are one thing, but the effect on the environment is another. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2018, the U.S. generated nearly 36 million tons of plastic waste. This has been a problem for so long that Concord, Massachusetts, in 2012 became the first municipality in the nation to ban the sale of single-serving water bottles. San Francisco in 2014 implemented one of the strictest bottled water bans in the country by banning the sale of bottled water on public property. Extreme reactions? Perhaps, but 36 million tons of plastic waste is no small matter.
If health and environment issues aren't enough to give us pause, consider that single-serve bottled water is not that great for our wealth, either. Do the math. It all adds up.
So, what are the alternatives? Here they are for your consideration:
You're already paying for it, and given the laws in the U.S. that regulate safe drinking water, what comes out of your kitchen tap may be just dandy.
If your tap water doesn't taste very good, consider a simple filter pitcher that you keep in the refrigerator. PUR dispensers get excellent reviews, are affordable and are quite attractive, too. Also, take a look at the ZeroWater Filter Pitcher.
We've tested and tried every kind of drinking water option in our home and finally went for a reverse osmosis system. This is a system that we installed under our kitchen sink and provides a continuous supply of delicious water to drink. It feeds our ice maker and I use it in cooking. Given the cost of hauling jugs and bottles of water out of stores and then dealing with the empty containers, we believe that our RO water purification system paid for itself in less than a year. It's trouble-free and quite awesome.
Every day I fill my water bottle at least three times (it has a 24-ounce capacity). I find that I drink a lot more water just because this particular container is convenient, BPA-free and pretty cool, too. What do I like most about it? I don't have to tip it up to drink from it. Think of an adult "sippy cup" with a built-in straw and flip top. I can drink water discreetly no matter where I am.
Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."
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