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Water: Drink in the Facts

(Family Features) - Water is an essential element for the human body, and we need it to stay hydrated and healthy.

But where should we get our water - from the tap or a bottle? Many people drink both, depending on taste and accessibility. To help you make an informed decision, here is some new information about the different refreshment choices you can make.

Environmental Impact

Perhaps the biggest debate is around the environmental impact of bottled water. A first-of-its-kind life cycle study recently commissioned by Nestlé Waters North America examines the environmental impact of tap water, filtered tap water, bottled water and other packaged beverages. Here are a few findings:

  • Water - in all its forms - is the best beverage option for the environment.

  • Among packaged beverages evaluated in the study, bottled water has the lightest environmental impact. So, people can lighten their own environmental impact simply by drinking bottled water instead of packaged soda or sports drinks.

  • Just by recycling the water bottle, the environmental impact is reduced by 25 percent.

Bottled water companies are working to reduce their environmental impact. For example, over the past 15 years Nestlé Waters North America has reduced the amount of plastic in its bottles by 60 percent, making its Eco-Shaped® bottle among the lightest half-liter bottles across the packaged beverage industry.

Climate change impact of non-alcoholic beverage consumption

Non-alcoholic beverages make up 0.92 percent of the average consumer's total carbon footprint. This chart shows the percent of total lifestyle impact these beverages have.

Why is bottled water better for the environment than other packaged drinks? Bottled water has no "grown" ingredients like sugar, which eliminates the environmental impact of additional water, pesticides and energy usage associated with harvesting those ingredients. Soda has nearly twice the environmental impact as bottled water, largely because of its ingredients, the heavier bottles required for carbonation, and the amount of water used during production.

The good news is that more and more people are drinking water - from the tap and from a bottle. Studies show if bottled water is not available, two-thirds of people will choose other packaged drinks that produce more carbon emissions and, typically, are more calorie-intensive.

How can you be sure your water is safe?

  • Learn the facts. Tap and bottled water are regulated by the government with public health and safety in mind. By law, FDA standards for bottled water must be as stringent as EPA standards for public water supplies. And in some cases, FDA bottled water standards are more stringent than the EPA's, such as for coliform bacteria, fluoride and lead.

  • Read your municipal water quality report. Municipal water suppliers are required to produce quality reports each year. Contact your local water supplier to find out how to access these reports. Or, visit

  • Find out the source and contents of your bottled water. Some bottled water brands provide information on how to access source and quality information, so you know exactly where your water comes from and what's in it.

"Our customers want to know what they're buying and consuming," says Nick Dege, director of quality assurance at Nestlé Waters North America. "We make it easy by publishing quality reports from independent testing results, which our customers can access through our website and via a toll-free phone number, both of which can be found on the label of every bottle."

Nestlé Waters North America