Just curious here for a minute: Would you pay $8,000 for a gallon of milk?
Or $5,000 for cup of coffee at Starbucks?
Or $3,000 for 16-ounce bottle of beer at your local 7-11?
Any sober person would answer with an emphatic “NO!” to all those possibilities, and wash the answer down with a nice, sensible bottle of water. Average cost: A very reasonable $1.
The problem with the cost of all of those choices is that it’s about 2000 times more than we’d expect to pay for that drink.
That includes the $1 bottle of water!
Yes, if you grabbed an empty, container of bottled water, walked to your kitchen sink and filled it with 17 ounces of tap water, it would cost you about .0005 cents. That computes to about five gallons for a penny.
However, if you grab the same bottle filled with the same odorless, colorless and tasteless liquid that is the dictionary definition of water, it would run you $1.
In other words, you could fill that plastic bottle with tap water 2,000 times, for the same price you pay for single bottled water off the shelf.
Taste Difference? Um, Not Really
Bottled water whiners get all wet over the discussion of the cost of their product. If you’ve been alive at any time in the 30-year run of amazing success for bottled water industry, you’ve heard their arguments.
“Bottled water tastes so much better!”
Bottled water purists won’t budge on this point. They also can’t produce any evidence to support it. There has been zero scientific testing on the subject, at least none that the mad research engine at Google could find.
However, there have been several decidedly unscientific “bottled water vs. tap water” tests, generally conducted by TV news stations. Nearly every test ended with the random crowd of test drinkers saying that glasses of tap were better than bottled. The lone win for bottled water came in an ABC news test in New York’s Central Park. Final score from the 20 people tested was bottled over tap by 11-9.
“Bottled water is better for you!”
That is another gripe from bottled water whiners, but again, what little scientific effort has been made on this subject, strongly favors tap water. The most obvious reason: Tap water is tested every day. Government regulations demand it. Bottled water is tested … whenever the company feels like getting around to it.
“I’m still going to buy bottled water. I just like it better.”
Here then are a few tidbits about your preferred refreshment that may persuade you to tap into your kitchen faucet instead of buying at the supermarket:
- If an American drank the recommended average of 64 ounces of water a day from the tap, it would cost them 49 cents for the year. The same amount of bottled water would come to $1,460 a year.
- About 50 million plastic bottles are used every year and with a recycling rate of 23 percent, that means about 38 billion bottles – worth $1 billion – end up in landfills on the side of roads or in waterways every year.
- The two leading sellers in the bottled water industry – Pepsi’s Aquafina and Coke’s Dasani – are nothing more than purified municipal water.
- Americans spent somewhere between $12 billion and $20 billion on bottled water in 2014.
None of that is going to thrill most bottled water fans, especially the ones who still contend there is a taste difference. There is a solution for that, too.
Tell them to take a gallon pitcher, fill it with tap water, throw in a few slices of lemon, lime, orange, cucumber or mint, wait 30 minutes and pour over ice.
You get the water you want, a taste you enjoy and no harm done to the environment.
“Yeah, well, I’m sticking with bottled water. Don’t call me if there is a hurricane or earthquake.”
There is just no convincing this crowd, is there?