Informational Flyer

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1 | Globally, we consumed 61.4 billion gallons of bottled water in 2011.

2 | Blind tests show that people cannot taste a difference.

  • In Washington, DC a majority of the 800 people tested preferred tap water over bottled.
  • A taste test on Good Morning America showed that participants chose New York City tap water more frequently than Poland Spring and Evian bottled water brands.
  • Two tests in Europe showed that "'people cannot correctly identify bottled water on the basis of its flavour.'" 
  • A humorous video from Penn and Teller (warning: some inappropriate language) illustrates the ease with which our perception of taste can be influenced. 

3 | Chemical analyses show that bottled water is not safer than tap water. 

  • Researchers from Environmental Working Group sent samples of 10 major brands of bottled water to a University of Iowa laboratory for analysis. The tests detected 38 chemical pollutants (including heavy metals, radioactive isotopes, wastewater pollution, fertilizer, and more) with each brand containing eight on average, and two brands had levels exceeding the legal limit in California. 
  • In a study published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research two German scientists tested for the presence of hormone-disrupting chemicals in different types of packaging. They found endocrine-disrupting chemicals in nine of eleven products packaged in plastic, providing evidence that estrogen-mimicking chemicals leach from plastic packaging. 
  • Multiple studies agree with their findings, one citing a "growing body of evidence" that these chemicals leach into bottled water specifically. 
  • This section explains the lack of bottled water quality regulation, making bottled water less likely to be as safe as tap water.

4 | Over a year, bottled water can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars more than tap water.

  • The cost of drinking 80 ounces of tap water every day for a year adds up to a whopping $0.55 (at $1.96 per CCF).
  • The cost of drinking the same amount of bottled water (at the average price of $1.45 per bottle) would add up to $1,948.80 a year. Compare that to the cost of gasoline at $2.87 a gallon, the average cost of bottled water (at $9.28 per gallon) is over three times the cost of gasoline!
  • Even at discounted bulk prices (like $4.99 for 24) bottled water would cost $225.32 a year. 
  • For example, you could refill your 24 ounce reusable bottle once a day for nine years and eight months before it would reach the cost of one 24 ounce bottle of average priced bottled water.

5 | About Spring to the Tap

6 | Contact Spring to the Tap


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Awareness: Local Effects - Global Impacts

1 | Plastic bottles are derived from crude oil and never biodegrade. Plastic debris only breaks into small microplastics.

  • The British Plastics Federation stated that "fossil fuels represent 99% of the plastics raw material base." This is because typical synthetic plastics are made from refining crude oil or natural gas and many chemical additives. Global use of plastics accounts for approximately 8% of oil production worldwide.
  • Research from scientists at Algalita Marine Research Foundation states that plastics break down slowly, not through chemical biodegradation, but through physical processes such as photodegradation (by UV light), oxidation and other environmental factors that weaken plastics into smaller and smaller pieces. NOAA reasoned that plastics never completely degrade because they cannot be naturally mineralized (broken into chemical components such as carbon and oxygen).
  • Scientists noted in a review of plastic debris that plastics are commonly washed into the ocean because they are less dense than many other forms of trash but also last much longer. Once in aquatic environments they take even longer to degrade because of lower temperatures and UV protection from algal growth. They add that in confronting this problem that "the most efficient and cost-effective solution is to reduce the release of plastics into the environment in the first place," listing education as primary component of the solution.

2 | It takes 2,000 times more energy to produce bottled water than to produce tap water.

  • In a comprehensive study on the energy impacts of bottled water published in Environmental Research Letters the authors conclude that the production of bottled water consumes around 2,000 times more energy than the production of tap water.
  • The Pacific Institute concludes that the energy used to produce plastic for bottled water in 2006 (not including the energy for water extraction, shipping, production, etc.) was equivalent to 17 million barrels of oil, enough to fuel one million cars for an entire year. 

3 | Plastics can leach and absorb chemicals, even in bottled water, and plastic pollution can contaminate the environment and entire food chains.

  • In a study published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research two German scientists tested for the presence of hormone-disrupting chemicals in different types of packaging. They found endocrine-disrupting chemicals in nine of eleven products packaged in plastic, providing evidence that estrogen-mimicking chemicals leach from plastic packaging. 
  • Multiple studies agree with their findings, one citing a "growing body of evidence" that these chemicals leach into bottled water specifically. 
  • Many studies have shown that plastic debris in marine environments acts like a sponge to collect and transport pollutants such as PCBs, organic pesticides (like DDT), and other persistent organic pollutants.
  • One study published in the Journal of Environmental Monitoring concluded that "These results demonstrate there exists a clear risk for all marine species and consequently for humans as these polluted particles are ingested and transport hazardous materials into creatures in the food web."

4 | Virtually every piece of plastic ever created still exists today.

  • Plastics only get smaller, they never really go away. Research from scientists at Algalita Marine Research Foundation states that plastics break down slowly, not through chemical biodegradation, but through physical processes such as photodegradation (by UV light), oxidation and other environmental factors that weaken plastics into smaller and smaller pieces. 
  • NOAA reasoned that plastics never completely degrade because they cannot be naturally mineralized (broken into chemical components such as carbon and oxygen).
  • This means that many plastics end up in the ocean, where they slowly break into microplastics. A recent study estimated a minimum of 5.25 trillion plastic particles now float on the surface of the world's oceans.

5 | Plastic pollution and debris is estimated to kill over one million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals each year.

  • UNESCO and a publication from the United Nations report that plastic debris is estimated to kill over one million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals each year.
  • An article in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin concluded that plastic debris is the most common type of marine litter worldwide, "its proportion consistently varies between 60% and 80% of the total marine debris."


Alternatives: Reusable Bottles - Drinking Fountains

6 | Reusable bottles made of glass or stainless steel will last a lifetime and are safe alternatives to plastic bottles.

  • Glass or stainless steel drinkware is widely regarded as the safest option for your hydration needs. They do not leach potentially toxic chemicals present in plastic or aluminum bottles (which require a plastic liner). 

7 | Almost half (47.8%) of all bottled water is packaged tap water.

  • Food & Water Watch reported that 47.8% of retail PET (typical single-use) bottled water comes from tap water supplies.
  • President of the Pacific Institute, Peter Gleick, estimates that about 45% of bottled water is treated tap water. (What can be labeled 'spring water'?)

8 | Find drinking fountains and refilling stations on-the-go with mobile apps. Check our website for more information and locations near Enumclaw.

  • Click here to find drinking water fountains and refilling stations near you with mobile apps or our browser maps.

9 | Bottled water costs over 3,500 times more than tap water.

  • Tap water costs around $0.00002 per ounce (depending on the cost of your municipal tap water, which is likely cheaper than the $1.96 per CCF listed here). Bottled water costs $0.073 per ounce, on average. This would make bottled water 3,650 times more expensive than tap water.
  • You could refill your 24 ounce reusable bottle once a day for nine years and eight months before it would reach the cost of one 24 ounce bottle of average priced bottled water.

10 | Municipalities are required to report testing of EPA tap water regulations to the public. Bottled water producers are not required to report testing violations of FDA guidelines.

  • The U.S. Government Accountability Office states, in a report critical of the U.S. FDA's lack of safety regulations on bottled water, that the "FDA does not have the specific statutory authority to require bottlers to use certified laboratories for water quality tests or to report test results, even if violations of the standards are found."
  • In Bottled and Sold author Peter Gleick evaluates weak FDA regulations: 
    • In a 2008 report "the FDA admitted what the bottled water industry has long denied: bottled water drinkers are not adequately protected from drinking water with fecal pathogens. 'Under current FDA regulations, the potential exists for fecal pathogens in groundwater to be undetected and be distributed to consumers in bottled water and cause illness.'" (page 38)
    • "A circular argument: Bottled water has a good safety record, the FDA says, so there is little need to actually conduct inspections. But without regular independent inspections, actual problems are unlikely to be discovered." (p. 40)
    • "Contrary to what the public might expect, the FDA is not authorized under law to order the recall of contaminated bottled water." (p. 43)
  • This table from Natural Resources Defense Council summarizes the differences between EPA tap water regulations and FDA bottled water regulations.


Action: Eliminate Use - Inspire Others

11 | Get involved by giving up bottled water at your school, at your workplace, or with your family!

12 | Anyone can become a leader in the Spring to the Tap movement by choosing tap water.

  • It all starts with you! It's easy to make a difference when bottled water is not safer, cheaper, tastier, or greener than tap water!

13 | Bottled water and water privatization threaten the human right to water. This undermining of public water systems furthers social inequality.

14 | Over 300 colleges and municipalities have limited their use of bottled water.

  • Visit our campaigns map page for the most comprehensive map of bottled water campaigns on the Internet today.
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