Published: April 27, 2018

    10 Shocking Facts About Bottled Water

    It should be no secret that we aren’t fans of bottled water here at Pelican. While there are several reasons for disliking plastic bottles, the main issues can be broken down into three main categories: first, using bottled water can cost your family thousands of dollars a year; second, plastic pollution is destroying our natural environment; and third, bottled water isn’t even held to the same treatment standards as tap water.

    But don’t take our word for it! Here are 10 surprising facts about bottled water supported by data:

    A single-use plastic water bottle will take between 450 and 1000 years to decompose. The most frightening aspect of this fact is that it’s just an estimate – no one truly knows how long it takes plastic to decompose for several hundred years. The range of 450 to 1000 is science’s best guess.

    Bottled water is thousands of times more expensive than tap water. You read that right: tap water costs approximately $0.004 per gallon, while bottled water is about $11.60 per gallon. That means bottled water is about 2,900 times more expensive than tap water.

    Your monthly water bill would be $9000 if your water utility charged as much as bottled water costs. With this information, it’s hard to believe that many American families still choose to buy bottled water at the store instead of filling reusable bottles with filtered water.


    Your family can save over $40,000 over the course of two decades by switching to reusable BPA-free water bottles. Think of all the vacations you could take with that kind of money! For a full breakdown read our blog.

    Almost half of the cost of bottled water goes to the retailer. If one single-use of bottled water costs $1.45 then approximately 67 cents go to the retailer, 47 cents cover transportation costs, 16 cents cover production costs, and 15 cents would be profit for the manufacturing company.


    Approximately 200 billion plastic water bottles are used each year around the world. Of those, more than 21% (or 42.6 billion) are used in the United States. That makes America the largest consumer of plastic bottled water.

    Bottled water consumption is still on the rise. Despite many campaigns on the devastating effects of plastic pollution worldwide consumers are still turning to bottled water in greater numbers, especially since the introduction of single-use BPA-free water bottles. The consumption of single-use bottled water has increased by about 9.5% each year since 1976.


    More than one-third of bottled water brands violate their industry’s standards for water quality. This surprising fact comes from a study conducted by the NRDC, which concluded that 33% of tested bottled water violated enforced state standards or exceeded microbiological purity guidelines.


    Over 25 percent of bottled water is simply tap water – in a bottle. Many bottled water brands position their water as high-quality water drawn from pristine mountain lakes or rivers, but more than one-fourth of all bottled water is tap water from local municipalities, subject to the same possibility of contamination.


    Bottled water doesn’t taste better than tap water – in fact, in tests participants preferred tap water. You can read more about these tests on our blog: when presented with bottled water and tap water in indistinguishable containers, testers more frequently chose the tap water as better tasting.

    Why are you still drinking bottled water? Drink filtered water in your home and use a reusable sports bottle when you’re on the go.