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How Is Bottled Water Made? Know the 2 Source Types!

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Considering that the cost of bottled water is often 10,000 times more than tap water, it’s not exactly shocking that bottled water in the United States is a $94 billion industry. Companies have fine tuned their marketing efforts over the years and capitalized on the fact that consumers are more conscious of having safe drinking water. The trouble, though, is that bottled water isn’t the ideal solution.

When you understand how bottled water is made, it’s easy to see that you can get even better, high-quality drinking water at a fraction of the cost—just with a good home water filter!

The Real Origins of Bottled Water

In order to figure out where your bottled water comes from, you need to take a closer look at its label. The FDA is responsible for regulating bottled water as a “packaged food item,” and the different labels on bottled water mean different things.

There are six primary types of bottled water, but we tend to see two labels most often. First, you might get a label for “spring water.” This is for water that comes from a protected, unground natural source. It’s important to note, though, that just because it’s labeled “spring water,” that doesn’t mean the spring itself has been checked by the FDA for safety. The regulations for spring water just state that that the water needs to have some protection in place against surface water contamination.

The other popular bottled water label is “purified water.” This is the one that has the most confusion, because the water can be coming from either of the two approved sources for bottled water: a protected natural source (like a spring or artesian well) or from a municipal source of drinking water (AKA, regular “tap water”).

Having the “purified water” label is distinct because it’s the only type of bottled water required by the FDA to have undergone additional treatment after being drawn from the source. Sometimes this can be as simple as filtration for dissolved solids. Other times you could be getting water that’s been filtered by reverse osmosis, which is arguably better.

The problem with all of this is that you don’t really know the extent of the filtration methods. On top of that, you also end up paying way more for bottled water than you would by having your own reverse osmosis filter at home. When the bottled water industry is already starting with municipal water, you can beat them at their own game and purify your own tap water, save money, and even get a higher quality.

Breaking Down the Bottled Water Industry

By and large, bottled water drinkers report that they’re choosing to pay for bottled water because they prefer the taste over tap water. And that’s a fair argument. The chlorine found in our tap water is hardly appealing, and the bottled water industry’s big marketing efforts make their products seem attractive, despite the heavy price tag. But there’s a better way to get great-tasting water.

The history of how bottled water is made took a big turn during the 1990s when the soda giants got involved. Before, the bottled water industry was mainly confined to brands that sourced groundwater from springs or wells. But then Coca-Cola and PepsiCo decided to launch their Dasani and Aquafina brands. By using their existing bottling plants, they were able to redefine the industry with their access to affordable and abundant municipal tap water.

Since the companies were already using refiltered tap water as the main ingredient in their other beverages, it was a pretty easy way to expand. Brian Ronholm of Consumer Reports helps paint a clear picture of the situation by saying, “These bottlers are essentially double-dipping—receiving low-cost water subsidized by taxpayers and then turning around and selling it back to the public at a significant markup.”

To make matters worse, the high cost of bottled water doesn’t necessarily give consumers peace of mind for water quality. This is because “purified water,” according to the FDA standards for bottled water, does not have to be completely contaminant-free. As long as the water is below what the FDA and local state allows for certain contaminants, it’s okay to sell. Most people assume that bottled water is safer than tap water, but when you filter your own tap water at home, you have a lot more control over what you’re actually drinking.

Want Better Than Bottled Water? It’s Easy—Filter at Home!

For families concerned about PFAS forever chemicals, nitrates, chlorine, lead, and other heavy metals, installing a home drinking water filtration system is definitely the way to go for clean, delicious water around the clock—at a fraction of the cost!

You can ensure your own purification standards are met by going with a reverse osmosis water filter that meets NSF certification. This means that the manufacturer’s claims have been tested by third parties and that the water filter will actually reduce the contaminants it says it will remove.

With an NSF water filter, you won’t be left guessing about your water quality. You’ll know for a fact that you’re getting the type of purified water you want. The filter can fit right under your kitchen sink. Then you’ll be able to fill your glass and reusable water bottles with truly pure RO water. No more overpaying for filtered tap water in the disposable water bottles. You can do it all on your own!

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