Bottled Water Facts: Did You Know?


Why do Terps  the Tap?  Eliminating or reducing the use of bottled water can help reduce your carbon footprint, reduce your personal waste and water consumption, and it’s the safe, less expensive choice!

Why Drink Water?
Water is necessary for all life, especially ours!  It supports human body function, and all cells and organs need water.  Drinking water throughout the day is an easy way to be healthy.

  • Our bodies are more than two-thirds water.  Water helps regulate body temperature, lubricates joints and the spinal cord, aids digestion, and maintains other important functions.1
  • Drinking water instead of sweetened beverages, like soda or juice, is the healthier way to stay hydrated.1  The CDC recommends keeping a cold pitcher of water in your refrigerator instead of drinks with added sugar.2
  • How much water do you need?  We’ve all heard to drink eight glasses of eight ounces each day, but experts say six to eight 8-oz glasses is a good amount.3  The Mayo Clinic suggests drinking a glass of water with each meal, between meals, and before and after exercise.4

Waste, Consumption, and Resource Use
A recent examination of campus behavior showed that most students carry a reusable water bottle.  That’s because Terps know that:

  • Most single use bottled water is sold in PET plastic bottles.  Though PET plastic is recyclable, only about 15% of PET bottles were recycled in 2004.5
  • It takes three liters of water to produce one liter of bottled water.6
  • Americans purchased 9.7 billion gallons of bottled water in 2012, at a total cost of $11.8 billion.7

Greenhouse Gas/Carbon Emissions
UMD has set a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.  The university’s emphasis on reducing carbon emissions will not only make for a more sustainable Maryland, but will also encourage Terps to shrink their personal carbon footprint.  One way to do this is to limit bottled water consumption:

  • PET bottles – the most common container for bottled water – are made from fossil fuels.6
  • Of the 15% of PET bottles that are recycled in the United States, nearly 40% of those are exported to other countries for recycling.  This means transportation-related carbon emissions go into the process of recycling these bottles.5
  • In 2006, the energy used to make the 900,000 tons of PET consumed in the United States is equivalent to 17 million barrels of oil.  That comes out to 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, or approximately the same as 400,000 cars produce in a year.5
  • 50 billion PET bottles were produced from virgin plastic, rather than recycled, in 2005.  This resulted in even more greenhouse gas emissions.5

Tap Water vs. Bottled Water
Bottled water is often marketed as the most sanitary hydration option, but tap water in the United States is highly regulated, very safe, and more affordable than bottled!  Terps  the Tap because it’s a safe, convenient, and budget-friendly choice.

  • Business Insider estimates that bottled water costs $1.22 per gallon, about 300 times more than tap water.7
  • More than 90% of United States municipal water supplies meet or exceed regulatory standards put in place by the EPA.5 The FDA regulations for bottled water, on the other hand, are less strict than those for tap water.  Products classified by the FDA as bottled water don’t have to meet the same contamination standards or undergo the same purifying treatments as tap water.8
  • About 44% of bottled water actually comes from a tap originally.9

1. CDC 
2. CDC 
3. NIH 
4. Mayo Clinic 
5. Think Outside the Bottle 
6. Pacific Institute 
7. Business Insider 
8. NRDC 
9. Pacific Institute