These days, most people don’t think twice about spending £1 on a litre of bottled water – it’s clean, healthy and convenient. The general belief is that bottled water is better or healthier than tap water.
Unfortunately, there really isn’t much evidence to back that up. Bottled water often originates from a public source but is then treated and/or filtered before being bottled. The result is often no better than filtered tap water.
Tap water is strictly regulated and the UK has some of the cleanest tap water in the world, with state-of-the-art filtration systems that make even water from the Thames drinkable! Over half a million tests are conducted throughout the year to ensure the microbiological, chemical, radiological and aesthetic qualities of UK drinking water, and 99.96% of samples meet those strict standards.
But there’s no harm in bottled water as long as the plastic is then recycled, right? Well the issue is not just the plastic waste but the entire value chain of water bottles. From production to distribution, the process of generating plastic bottles for water is unsustainable. On average, three litres of water are needed to produce one litre of bottled water when including the production of the plastic, transportation, filtering and filling up the bottles. This production chain of plastic water bottles has a negative impact on the environment.
Using a refillable bottle and filling up with tap water is really the safest, most economical and environmentally friendly way to stay hydrated. So, is there ever a need to filter tap water?
Filtering hard tap water can reduce the amount of minerals in it, making it soft, which many people prefer. Some people also like to remove and smell and/or taste of the small levels of chlorine that are used when treating the water to make it safe for drinking. Despite tap water being safe in the UK, old building infrastructure might be an issue in some areas, mainly for young children. If your house was built before 1970, there’s a chance you could have lead pipes. This carries the danger that small traces of lead may transfer to your drinking water as it flows through them.
If you want to enjoy the cleanest tap water available, and protect the environment, purchasing a water filter and regularly filling up from the tap is probably the safest and most efficient method.