Bottled water is a large segment of the beverage industry and that fact alone continually surprises people. For those population groups that don’t have access to clean water, drinking bottled water makes sense. If people do have access to fresh, clean water, however, why would they choose to purchase bottles of water on a regular basis?
In 2012, total bottled water consumption in the United States increased to 9.67 billion gallons, up from 9.1 billion gallons in 2011.
Bottled Water Sales
There’s are no indications that the consumption of bottled water is going to decline any time soon, especially in the United States. If anything, American consumers are wanting even more water to consume that is easy to take with them. Because it’s seen as being healthier than soft drinks or juices, bottled water will likely have a permanent place on store refrigerator shelves.
- 30.8 gallons. That’s the average amount of bottled water that is consumed every year by the average American.
- The total amount of bottled water sales in 2012: $11.8 billion.
- Every person in the United States is drinking 5.3% more bottled water this year than they did last year.
- Bottled water has added more gallons to its per-person consumption rate in the last 10 years than either ready-to-drink tea or sports beverages.
- The brand value of Evian, one of the top bottled water producers, is $907 million.
- The total value of US product shipments of bottled water is estimated to be $6.4 billion annually.
- The global forecast for bottled water profits across all brands: $86 billion.
In some nations, consuming bottled water is an absolute necessity. A visit to Mexico is famous for making you sick if you drink the water, for example, so the fact that the average Mexican consumes over 67 gallons of bottled water – twice that of the American population. Although some might see the sales of bottled water as a frivolity, the fact remains that people who have access to regular clean water supplies are drinking less bottled water per person than those who don’t have that access. With water being a healthy alternative, priced less than $0.40 per bottle in some areas, and made of recycled materials, it could be said that drinking bottled water is one of the best choices that a consumer could make today.
Does Bottled Water Damage The Environment?
- Bottled water only accounts for 0.03% of the total waste stream in the United States.
- Some bottled water manufacturers are producing products that are made with 100% recycled PET containers.
- Between 2000-2011, the average weight of a half-liter PET plastic bottle declined by 47.7%.
- 38.6%. That’s the average recycling rate for plastic bottled water containers, a rate that has doubled in the last 7 years.
- Bottled water containers are the most commonly recycled item that is picked up from curbside recycling programs.
- To make brand new water bottles every year, 17 million barrels of oil must be consumed.
- It takes 3x the amount of water to create the plastic bottle as it does to fill the bottle up with water.
One of the criticisms of the bottled water industry has consistently been its ability to produce waste, but as these statistics show, that’s a perception that is just not true. Bottled water products make up a small fraction of the waste supply. It is one of the top products that are recycled by American households. A few years ago, when recycling rates were below 20%, the assumption of waste creation may have been more accurate. For the modern water consumer, however, it could be said that they are more environmentally conscious than the average consumer in the general public. That’s not to say that great improvements couldn’t be made. Only 3-4 bottles that are used are every recycled. That means 6-7 water bottles are making their way to landfills every day.
Bottled Water Is Not A New Concept
- The first documented cases of selling bottled water in the United States happened in Boston in the 18th century.
- 10%. That’s how much the global consumption of bottled water is estimated to rise on an annual basis when all brands are considered.
- Sales growth of bottled water is slowest in Europe, but some commercial bottled water brands have over a century of market experience.
- In the United States, Americans drink more bottled water today than they drink beer or even milk.
- The price of tap water in California: $0.001/gallon. The price of bottled water in California: $0.90/gallon.
- The percentage of bottled water that actually comes from public water sources: 47.8%.
- 20% of tested bottled water contained more bacteria than allowed in monitored public water supplies.
- 84% of people fear that the public water supply may be contaminated, but 90% of the public water supply is deemed on all levels of monitoring.
- The percentage of bottled water that is deemed to be safe: 96%.
Being concerned about what goes into the body every day is a good thing. It shows that healthy living is a personal emphasis and bottled water can help to provide a person with the hydration that they need. In reality, however, people are spending over 500x the amount that they need to spend on the water they consume when they purchased bottled water. Although there are gains in safety that come from the consumption of bottled water, there isn’t a 100% guaranteed safe source of water today. When you also consider the fact that the average bottle of water is going to rank at or below the flavor of regular tap water, an easy way to save some money on a tight budget might just be to save that $0.89 per bottle of water and bring your own with you instead.