Plastic waste has created a dilemma for water drinkers

By Chris Hann

Plastic waste has created a dilemma for water drinkers

Here at Virgin Pure we’re all about helping the conscious consumer. On the one hand, the heightened awareness concerning the quality of our bodily nourishment makes us wary of drinking chemically treated water. That would rule out the tap.

But on the other hand, drinking bottled water is easy to object to. The ecological impact of 100 million tonnes of plastic bottles is immense, and enough plastic is thrown away every year to circle the Earth four times over.

“If you eliminate the scourge of bottled water, you’ll be eliminating one of the biggest problems facing our environment”
Capt. Charles Moore

Water presents the ethical and health-conscious consumer with a dilemma. Whichever decision you make, tap or bottle, there is an inevitable compromise. The magnitude of the compromise depends on your level of concern for your nutritional intake and your carbon footprint.

If you’re somebody who cares deeply about what you put into your body, be it food or fluid, but you have relatively little awareness concerning the wider environmental and ecological issues around the bottled water industry, then you’ll choose either tap or bottled water based on whichever you perceive to be healthier for you.

If you are less concerned with your nutrition, but care deeply about making decisions that align with your ethical values, then you will likely purchase water based on whichever you perceive to be the most environmentally friendly.

But if you care just as much about your nutrition as you do about making ethical consumer choices, the tap/bottle trade-off doesn’t work for you.

Is there an alternative?

At Virgin Pure we believe not only in helping people to drink more water, but in empowering conscious consumers to make a no-compromise decision. Our role is to explore the multi-dimensional word of water, and to uncover how we can all drink better water, more often, for less money, and with minimal environmental cost.

There is so much information out there about water quality, with thousands of articles claiming to be busting the myths about water once and for all. The information is so abundant, and at times so contradictory, that it stops becoming useful and starts becoming internet noise.

When push comes to shove, all we want as consumers is to be secure in the knowledge that we’re making the decision that most aligns with what we value. But before our purchasing habits can become a natural extension of our values, we must first be clear about what they are.

And in order to do that, we need to know the facts.

Things you need to know about bottled water

  1. Britain consumes nearly 3bn litres of bottled water per year.
  2. Typically bottled water retails at up to 500 times more than the price of tap water.
  3. The UK bottled water industry is worth ~£2bn per year.
  4. For 2007 it is estimated that 13bn plastic bottles of water were sold in the UK of which only 3bn were recycled
  5. 162g of oil and seven litres of water are required to manufacture a single one litre disposable PET bottle. 
  6. The production of a plastic bottled releases 100g of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.
  7. 50% of bottled water contain added minerals and salts, but this does not mean that it is more ‘healthy’.
  8. Around 5.5 billion plastic bottles are disposed of in landfills every year, which is not sustainable.
  9. The Eastern Garbage Patch is an area 6 times the size of England, it is the world's largest waste dump.

An ethical storm

The issue of excessive waste is one that has come to characterise modern times. Due to the explosion of the bottled water industry in recent years, water has found itself in the middle of an ethical storm.

Why should our consumption of the highest quality water mean that we have no choice but to contribute to an industry suffering from ecological apathy?

We don’t believe that this is a choice we should be forced to make. Here at Virgin Pure, we believe in giving people complete access to the purest water without having to contribute to bottled water’s vast ecological and environmental impact.

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