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Bottled water is stupid

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I have detested bottled water since their popularity in the late 90s, when people started walking around with bottles as if they couldn’t find potable water WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE OF ANYWHERE. Now I have some data to back up my disgust:

Ounce for ounce, it costs more than gasoline, even at today’s high gasoline prices; depending on the brand, it costs 250 to 10,000 times more than tap water. Globally, bottled water is now a $46 billion industry.

Read the full NYTimes article (via This is Broken)
UPDATE: CBS News has a good article on this topic

PS–I’m back from vacation

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27 Comments on "Bottled water is stupid"

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Judy
Judy
11 years 18 days ago

Unfortunately our tap water is not the best and after treating my dog for several UTI’s, the vet recommended bottled water for her. I was already using a PUR filter but unfortunately it wasn’t enough. Since switching several month ago, we haven’t had any more problems. I buy it by the gallon at WalMart for 58cents. It does add up but not nearly as much as the vet bills and antibiotics!

C. Shamis
9 months 24 days ago

You are an idiot.

ducker
ducker
9 months 18 days ago

Bottled water is a scam and you fell for it. Do a little research before you waste any more money on it.

Samuel
Samuel
6 months 29 days ago

It depends on the quality of the water . Please YOU PEOPLE do your research , go read about flint Michigan.

Ben
Ben
11 years 14 days ago
Bottled water is a scam – you can buy the same type of Reverse Osmosis/Deionizing (RO/DI) equipment and install it in your kitchen for about $250 + roughly $40/year (or 5000 gallons) for filters. So, if the system (very conservatively) lasts you 5 years and if you use all of that capacity you’re paying less than $0.02 per gallon. But lets be realistic knowing that you’re willing to pay $0.58/gallon for the water. The annualized cost of water treatment is $90, dividing by $0.58, and then by 52 weeks is 3 gallons per week. So, if you’re buying at least… Read more »
Ramit Sethi
11 years 14 days ago

Wow–how interesting. Ben, I came to a totally different conclusion: Why even buy bottled water?

Of course you might buy it when you go out once in a while, etc.

But for normal daily tasks like cooking and drinking (and watering your plants??), isn’t tap water good enough?

Ben
Ben
11 years 13 days ago
I’m not suggesting that anyone buy bottled water – but there are any number of reasons to justify using purified water. Drinking water quality varies widely from city to city – and is affected further by the miles of pipes between the source and your faucet. Chlorine tastes bad – high concentrations of dissolved minerals and metals taste even worse. Sure, it’s all potable – but paying a few cents a gallon to make it taste better is obviously worth it to a lot of people. As for plants… (unpolluted) rain is basically pure and it’s the natural source of… Read more »
Tommy
11 years 12 days ago
I have a bottled water rotation system. My wife and I buy a pack bottled water from Costco every 6 months or so. I refill the bottles by bringing home filtered water from work every day in a big thermos bottle. The water is just as good as bottled. After a while, the bottles get kinda nasty and we recycle them and get another set at Costco. It’s kind of a balance (but it’s really for the bottles since we don’t feel bad if we loose them). I also sometimes get Pelligrino which is SUPER expensive, but worth it once… Read more »
John
John
11 years 6 days ago

Bottled water for a pet!? That’s ridiculous! How can people spend so much money on a stupid animal when there are people dying in Africa? Americans waste more than $300M on pets a year. Imagine what that can do for poverty…

Steve
Steve
11 months 20 days ago

Fuck the Africans , American pets as well as American homeless are more important , save Americans first!!

Scott
5 months 29 days ago
@john. I would MUCH rather spend money on my dog,cat,bird,fish or any other pet I may have than donate it to a charity that’s SUPPOSEDLY going to use it to help people I don’t know in another country by giving them food,clothing,clean water all for now profit. BS…My pets are family to me and I’ll do my best to keep them healthy before I give a dime to some bull shit charity. Obviously you never had a pet or maybe you did but you sound like an animal hater to me so piss off. Go donate your hard earned money… Read more »
Lisa Browning
Lisa Browning
2 months 21 days ago

Sounds as if u are the stupid animal

Ben
Ben
11 years 3 days ago
Some people enjoy spending time with their pets, it’s a hobby and it costs money. There’s no point in criticizing someone for what they enjoy doing if it’s not *directly* harming other people. Otherwise you may as well point the finger back at yourself. Some might say that having a computer and paying for electricity and internet access is a waste of money. After all, there are people living on less than a dollar a day. You could feed, clothe and shelter someone in a 3rd world country for what most people spend on internet access. And then there’s the… Read more »
Robert Hobbs
Robert Hobbs
1 year 2 months ago

Who cares about third world countries. It’s about time they learn some restraints in their breeding practices which is the major cause of most their poverty. Let’s focus on the poverty in the U.S.A.

klauss
klauss
10 years 11 months ago

Well said Ben. I would not rely to much on filtered/bottled water. The only way to get pure water the way nature intended is by getting a water distiller. The initial purchase is well worth it in the long run.

dan
dan
10 years 10 months ago

I drink bottled water about half the time. This is usually becasue 1) I percieve the tap or location to be ‘unclean,’ which in turn makes me feel like the water is dirty 2) I’m buying a drink and I don’t like soda and so my only alternative is water.

Kay
10 years 6 months ago

Ramit, I always carry a bottle of water, that I filtered at home. And I will never hesitate to buy a bottle of water from a store when I’m out of my home and my bottle of water has run out.

Unfiltered water might have many impurities in it and I think by using a filter, you are saving plenty of money because you wont fall sick because of impure water.

I’ve read/heard many horror stones of kidney stones that were produced by drinking tap water, unfiltered.

Vicki
Vicki
9 years 11 months ago

A few years ago, me, my then-fiance, my cat, and my guinea pig all got kidney stones around the same time. We all switched to bottled water. No more problems.

So, I am definitely a proponent of bottled water.

Greg
Greg
9 years 11 months ago
While tap water is certainly bacteria free, despite what anyone tries to say, it is still not as healthy as bottled. Tap water goes through many miles of old pipes and is treated with chlorine and flouride. A lot of places have a hard water as well, which contributes to your kidney stones. People claiming tap water is just fine and people drinking bottled water are stupid are just trying to sound smart. If you don’t want to spend your money on bottled water then don’t. But don’t tell me what to drink or not to drink.
Julie
Julie
9 years 4 months ago
The health benefits of pet ownership are well documented by the NIH, CDC, and AVMA. Pet ownership can decrease blood pressure, triglyceride levels, and feelings of loneliness. I go to the park and/or walk outdoors at least a mile a day with my dog, providing me with additional health benefits. Yes, some people go overboard and “waste” money on extravagances for their pets, but a maintaining a healthy lifestyle every day (and pets help people do this) will save a lot of money in medical bills later on. If Fido or Fluffy needs bottled water to stay healthy, it’s well… Read more »
Robert Hobbs
Robert Hobbs
1 year 2 months ago

Well said Julie, don’t let anyone dictate how to spend the hard earned paycheck that you earn. Them trying to make a point of guilt shouldn’t surfice and a poor argument!

Lelouche
Lelouche
8 years 7 months ago
If you live on the pacific north west you can drink from your tap ^^ we have the best water supply in the country. Taste just like bottled water vs like New York where you can taste the crap in the tap. But regardless i still buy bottled water just because it saves me some time and its more convenient. And brands like aquafina do taste even more pure. And seriously people who detest bottled water need to open their mind more. It taste good (and your regularly drink different kinds of water you can differentiate water, convenient and pure)… Read more »
Starla
Starla
8 years 3 months ago

If a pet requires bottled water and a pet owner wants to buy it for them it is THEIR business. Frankly I am sick and tired of all the AFRICA hype. I am sorry for their plight and have given to charity. But Charity begins at home. The good old USA for me.

Abby
Abby
8 years 2 months ago
Ben’s suggestion of purifying your own water is possibly the best one here. Bottled water is expensive, creates unnecessary waste, and is potentially not as good for you as the companies make it out to be. Most of the water in those bottles is really just tap water with a nice label, and a lot of the bottles themselves leach chemicals into the water. Even the plastic water bottles many eco-conscious people (myself included) carry around and re-fill may not be all that great. I recently bought a stainless steel water bottle, which, combined with a filtering system in my… Read more »
Karen
Karen
1 year 1 month ago

I suffer from dry mouth on a daily, constant, basis. I always carry water with me everywhere I go. I get the store brand spring water….4.00 a case of 24 bottles. if I run out, then I purchase it from the cafe at work about 2-3 times higher than what I paid for it at the grocery store.

This is really more about the choices we make, correct. BTW – my cats get tap water and wet food.

Chris Tuthill
7 months 30 days ago
My wife has same issues and since we live in country we have well with VERY high iron content our water used for bathing, clothes, pets etc. and not drinking due to strong iron taste. We also buy bottled water and prefer not to used filtered water from ANY municipal water supply that may or may not have been mixed with human waste at one point. My water probably safe but doesn’t taste good. My response to you and all others who drink bottled water is spring water comes out of ground and not someones toilet and you’ll save $1.20… Read more »
Chris
4 months 8 days ago
Love your stuff Ramit. Just got one of your emails entitled “I wrote this years ago…and now I hate it” and it was about this blog post you wrote on bottled water. Had to check it out because I’m basically doing what your email said even down to writing a blog post about bottled water. But I don’t hate mine…yet ;). My water bottle post is about trying to teach my kids about money “sense” and the value of a dollar. It’s like Ramit says, buy the stuff you love and want, but be ruthless about the stuff that is… Read more »
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