Is Bottled Water Helping or Hurting?

When it comes to plastic pollution, the question must be asked, “Is bottled water making it worse?” 

If you have ever been outdoors, you’ve seen an empty water bottle where it didn’t belong. On the side of the road. In a lake. On a trail. In countries like a Haiti, where relief efforts took off several years ago, a simple rainstorm washes thousands of plastic bottles into the streets and walkways. The point: Plastic bottles are everywhere. They’re being manufactured by the millions and they’re wreaking havoc on our ecosystem. While they provide drinkable water – though whether the water is free from plastic microparticles is another discussion – they aren’t addressing other significant ecosystem crises.

According to, Americans went through about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year with a dismal 23 percent recycling rate. Add to that an estimated 22 million pounds of plastic that goes into the waters of the Great Lakes each year, you’re looking at a legitimate issue. 

But does the presence of plastic in bottles undo the other efforts being taken to stop plastic from hitting our ecosystem?  

At Filtrol, we recognize the dilemma in front of us. On one hand, water is polluted with plastic micro-particles. The more unfiltered water you drink from your tap, the more plastic you’re consuming. And the jury is still out on how bad plastic is on our ecosystem and our bodies. For this reason, bottled water (assuming it’s tested and doesn’t have any microscopic pieces of plastic) is an understandable alternative to tap water. On the other hand, if our goal is to protect our environment, disposable plastic bottles are clearly taking us in the opposite direction. 

Check out these details and facts about plastic bottles taken directly from Healthy Human, an organization that seeks to build a healthier planet with innovative and eco-friendly products (such as reusable plastic bottles). 

  1. It takes 3 times the amount of water in a bottle of water to make it as it does to fill it.
  2. Plastic water bottles are made from a petroleum product called polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which requires giant amounts of fossil fuels to make and transport.
  3. The production of bottled water uses 17 million barrels of oil a year. That’s slightly more than it would take to fill one million cars a year with fuel.
  4. It takes almost 2,000 times the energy to manufacture a bottle of water than it does to produce tap water.
  5. If you fill a plastic water bottle so it is about 25% full, that’s about how much oil it took to make the bottle.

So with the dilemma and discussion related to plastic pollution, we recognize that the work in front of us isn’t as simple as a one-size-fits-all solution. The problem of plastic isn’t going away because of Filtrol. It’s not disappearing because of Healthy Human. If this problem is going to be taken care of, it’s going to take a lot of people. It’s going to take innovation, education, and legislation. It’s going to take a change of mind and a change in lifestyle from all of us.