Drink Up: Enjoying Greener Water

Sure, making green choices when it comes to drinking coffee [www.sundance.tv] and beer [www.sundance.tv] is important, but neither would be possible without perhaps the world’s most precious resource: water. As major droughts loom, and “the question is when and where, not whether, there will be major droughts or shortages that could have a major disruptive effect on business and society,” according to green business guru Joel Makower [www.makower.com]. No matter how you slice it (or how you drink it), TreeHugger knows it’s pretty important to think about where you water comes from.

When it really comes down to it, the United States (and most of the developed world in general) has some of the finest water in the world running through its taps. To help see where yours ranks, the Environmental Working Group has created the National Tap Water Database [www.ewg.org], which looks at more than 22 million water quality tests and organizes the results such that people can search by city, state, or by contaminant, to see what’s in their water and what health issues are related to each substance. Taste tests (including one by TreeHugger’s founder Graham Hill [www.treehugger.com]) routinely show that tap water tastes better than bottled water, but if it doesn’t, there are some things you can do. Installing an activated charcoal or ceramic filter [www.treehugger.com] is a quick ‘n easy fix; a more permanent (and arguably the more thorough fix) would be to get a reverse-osmosis filter, like the kind found here [www.freedrinkingwater.com].

No matter how you go about filtering or otherwise altering your tap water, TreeHugger recommends that you stay off the bottle. By almost every measure, it’s a scam: in addition to the mountains of plastic waste it produces, a four-year study of bottled water in the U.S. [www.nrdc.org] conducted by NRDC found that one-fifth of the 103 water products tested contained synthetic organic chemicals such as the neurotoxin xylene and the possible carcinogen and neurotoxin styrene… ick. Plus, lots of bottled water doesn’t come from fresh mountain streams or Artesian springs, and companies like Dasani, owned by Coca-Cola, add salt to their water to make it taste better (just like fast food) so you’ll drink more of it. Further, bottled water is more expensive than gasoline, and incurs a humongous carbon footprint [www.sundance.tv], as we found here [www.treehugger.com]. So, if you want water on the go, we recommend you grab a durable, non-toxic [www.treehugger.com] container and hit the tap instead of the bottle.
For more on ideas, tips and facts, check out TreeHugger’s guide for How to Green Your Water [www.treehugger.com].