In the time of belt-tightening and budget uncertainty, one easy cut is your bottled water habit. Industry figures show a 3.5 percent increase in bottled water sales in 2010, according to Consumer Reports, for a total cost of $6.4 billion per year.
This is despite a down economy, a bigger push toward reusable bottles and a growing market of at-home water filters.
What’s more, a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee meeting in 2009 revealed that often times, tap water is actually safer than bottled water. This is because municipal water systems undergo more scrutiny than bottled water manufacturers.
In fact, many bottled water brands don’t disclose where their water comes from or the process used to purify it. Municipal water systems have to disclose such information because of Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
However, BBB recognizes that some municipal water systems are better than others and consumers might simply not like the taste of their tap water.
In that case, an at-home water filtration system is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than bottled water. You can opt for a refillable carafe with a filter, a system that attaches directly to the faucet or lay down some more money and buy reverse-osmosis or whole-house filtration systems.
For the on-the-go convenience of bottled water, purchase a refillable bottle that doesn’t contain bisphenol A, or BPA — a chemical found in certain plastics that has been linked to reproductive problems.
So, when you’re looking to run on a leaner budget, stop thinking of bottled water as a necessity, otherwise you’re just pouring money down the drain.