Buying bottled water has always felt like a bit of a swizz, particularly if you're on a night out and face being charged £3 for a luke-warm bottle of H2O when you don't even know what day of the week it is.
Now researchers have found that bottled water is definitively not worth buying: at an average cost of $1.22 (£0.93), bottled water costs 300 times more than water from the tap. What a rip-off.
According to correspondents at U.S. magazine Business Insider, the contrast in price could be even higher since most bottled water sales are only of single bottles.
What's more, there is no obvious difference in quality between bottled water and tap water, and water bottles cause untold waste and environmental damage.
"A glass from the tap and a glass from the bottle are virtually identical as far as their health and nutritional quality are concerned," wrote Erin Brodwin and Anaele Pelisson at the magazine.
"In some cases, publicly-sourced tap may actually be safer since it is usually tested more frequently."
Bottled water has long been lauded for its 'therapeutic' qualities, with the first documented case of bottled mineral water sold in Boston, Massachusetts in the 1760s.
It's becoming an increasingly popular and lucrative business, too, People drink roughly 10 percent more bottled water every year, and last year, Americans chugged more bottled water than soft drinks for the first time on record.
However, research suggests that bottled water is no better for you than tap water. A recent report found that almost half of all bottled water is derived from tap water anyway, but further processed or tested for safety. Tap water is usually tested more frequently than bottled water anyway.
Bottled water doesn't taste discernibly better either. A recent blind taste test survey by students at Boston University found that only a third of taste-testers correctly told the difference between the two.
Crude oil pumps in Saskatchewan, Canada. Credit: PA
Worryingly, the process of bottling water burns through natural resources. Not only does more water go into producing bottled water than goes into the bottle, but the plastic used to bottle water is produced from crude oil by-products.
A study in the journal Environmental Research Letters found that the amount of bottled water people in the U.S. consumed in 2007 took roughly 32-54 million barrels of oil to produce. Not good news for climate change.
Unlike most types of plastic which get reused over their lifetimes, water bottles are usually used once and disposed of.
If you think, "Oh, at least they get recycled," you're wrong. According to National Geographic, only one in six water bottles used in the U.S. make it to the recycling bin.
So next time you plan on buying bottled water, consider filling old bottles with tap water instead. You'll be doing a lot of good and, let's be honest, you won't tell the difference anyway.
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Source: Business Insider
Featured Image Credit: PA