Panorama has just run an exposé on bottled water -- you can still watch it on iPlayer. As a rule, I tend not to buy bottled water, initially this was because it's a waste of money, but in the last couple of years, having considered the environmental cost of bottled water, that is now a big justification too.

The obvious (to me) environmental problem with bottled water is that bottled water is transported hundreds, and sometimes thousands of miles, using carbon-hungry transport methods -- ships and trucks mostly. By contrast, tap water is transported from a relatively local source (i.e. the reservoir)

But Panorama brought up another few environmental and moral reasons to avoid it:

  • The plastic that makes the bottles needs to be produced from a large quantity of crude oil, both directly as a raw material for the polymers, and indirectly to fuel the power stations that create the energy used by the plastic factories.
  • As few as one in four water bottles is recycled after use, adding to landfills when the bottles have been disposed of properly, and polluting our cities, countryside and waterways when they have not.
  • Bottled water is often sourced from countries where the local population have a shortage of clean drinking water.

Please, make the next bottle of water you buy the last. Don't throw it away when you're finished with it. Keep it and fill it up from the tap when you get home.