Bottles used to package water can take over 1,000 years to bio-degrade and if incinerated, they produce toxic fumes.
It takes up to 3-7 litres of water and one litre of oil to produce one litre of bottled water, that’s not including the oil required for transport.
Most water bottles end in landfill.
It takes 8 years to recoup the cost of a bottle of water by refilling the bottle with tap water.
We are a family that drink bottled water almost exclusively. I use tap water in the kettle, in cooking, on the plants etc, but will not drink it.
In Australia two of the gravest concerns about tap water centre around heavy metals and the chlorine that is used to disinfect the water.
- Heavy metals are known to cause a number of neurological and physical diseases.
- High levels of chlorine are linked with a number of health issues, including miscarriages and birth defects.
While some argue that these substances are kept to safe levels in our tap water, almost no one disagrees that they negatively contribute to the taste of tap water.
Of more concern to all health conscious Australians should be the fact that our tap water is only monitored for 70 chemicals, whilst there are over 300 known chemicals that should be of concern. These include ingredients in pharmaceutical medicines and pesticides that find their way into our water supply. Then there are the contaminants that find their way into your water after it has been treated at the treatment plant. Some of these include lead, copper and plastic residues, all of which can accumulate in the body and cause a host of serious health problems.
Then in 2008 the Queensland government introduced fluoride into our drinking water. Fluoride has links to higher rates of cancer, arthritis, allergies and bone fractures. And there have been several reports of over-fluoridation, one such report was for a treatment plant in my local area that had 20 times the acceptable level of fluoride in its water. 20 times!!!!!
Other reasons (50 of them in fact!) not to have fluoride in drinking water can be found here.
On my journey to an organic and cruelty free life I wish to reduce waste so that means no more bottled water. But our dislike of tap water brings us to getting a water purifier unit.
If you have ever been interested in getting a water purifying unit and been confused or overwhelmed by all the options (as I was) I will give you a detailed list below with pros and cons.
Countertop Water Filters
Water Filter Jugs
Pros: Inexpensive to buy, convenient and easy to use.
Cons: Slow to filter water, some models can clog easily, short life of cartridges making cost per litre expensive, limited on amount of contaminants that they can remove.
Pros: Can remove all contaminants from the water.
Cons: Distilled water is extremely pure and needs to be fed through a carbon filter to improve taste, also any beneficial minerals that may be in the water are removed. Distillers can be expensive to buy and maintain, they also require a great deal of energy to produce pure water. The process is very slow.
Pros: Water tastes good, inexpensive, can be made to suit kitchen decor.
Cons: Low flow rate (1-3 litres per hour), Set up is fragile, breaks easily, allowing bad water through undetectable cracks, cleaning results in removal of ceramic layer; over time, filter life is short. Urns can develop hair-line cracks which can cause a build up of bacteria, in fact some manufacturers recommend that the urn is replaced every 2 years. Take up a lot of bench space.
Bench Top Carbon Filters
Pros: Housings are durable and last a long time, can be fitted with multiple cartridges to remove a wide range of contaminants, cartridges can be chosen to suit taste or budget. Good for rental properties.
Cons: Clutters countertop and needs to be attached to kitchen tap outlet.
Under Sink Water Filters
Carbon and Ceramic Water Filters
Pros: Filters large amounts of water, can be configured to remove specific contaminants, great in use per litre cost. All you see is the tap the entire water filter system fits neatly under the sink. Cartridges last a long time less maintenance.
Cons: Requires install by licensed plumber, system needs to comply with relevant plumbing codes in each state. Some carbon cartridges are not NSF standard or certified to remove contaminants such as lead or chloramines, always check with the dealer and ask for certification.
Pros: Filters large amounts of water, will remove all contaminants, great in use per litre cost.
Cons: Wastes water some RO systems will send 4 litres of water to drain for every 1 litre of water produced, when selecting a system always ask about waste ratio – the best modern water filter systems now run 1:1. This ratio depends on many factors including incoming water quality, ambient temperature and pressure. A holding tank is required under the sink to hold the pure water as the process is very slow.
Pros: Removes a wide spectrum of bacteria, UV water treatment devices can be used for well water and surface water disinfection.
Cons: Suspended particles are a problem because microorganisms buried within particles are shielded from the UV light and pass through the unit unaffected, if the flow is too high, water will pass through without enough UV exposure. If the flow is too low, heat may build up and damage the UV lamp. If the UV light is not maintained and replaced annually it will not be effective.
The Verdict: I think the under sink carbon and ceramic filtration systems are the best option. Yes the initial cost is going to set you back quite a bit – the cost of the system and to hire a plumber. But I think it is the most effective at removing most if not all toxins in the water. It’s easy to use and there are many different configurations to suit your needs. And from what I have read the water tastes great.
And if you need to have bottled water…..