The Drinking Water Debate

Choosing the Best Drinking Water

Bottled. Filtered. Straight from the tap. There’s never been such a wide range of options for your drinking water. Then there are the bottled water varieties, including spring, distilled and purified. So which is best for you? Let’s dive into the drinking water debate for some answers.

What is filtered water?

Water can be filtered by using a physical barrier, biological process, or chemical process intended to remove or lower the amount of impurities present. Each process is effective in removing certain types of impurities that otherwise effect taste and drinkability. The most popular method for filtering household water is known as activated carbon filtering, which involves pushing water through a physical & chemical carbon barrier which acts like a magnet trapping impurities into the carbon. It’s the foundational process used by all Brita® pitchers, bottles and dispensers. Learn about the common impurities Brita® can help filter out of your tap water.

What are the benefits of filtered water?

  • Health: Many filters remove or reduce health contaminants that can be found in tap water which may include lead, copper, mercury and more. Check the packaging or contaminant chart to see whether the filter is focused on contaminant reduction vs. taste only.
  • Taste: Common impurities such as chlorine and zinc can make water bitter and unpleasant to drink. Activated carbon filters can make your water taste great, and even improve coffee and tea.
  • Sustainability: By introducing policies that encourage refillables for all beverages, Canada could drastically reduce the 441,000 tonnes of waste from single-use plastic bottles each year*. In one year, you can save 1,800 disposable bottles** from landfills and oceans with just 2 Brita Longlast+® Filters.
  • Value: You’ll see significant cost savings when you ditch bottled water for filtered. In fact, switching to Brita Longlast+® filtered water can help you save $380 a year.

Where does bottled water come from?

Bottle labels can be confusing, even misleading, making it difficult for consumers to know how water is sourced, treated or handled. The truth is, bottled water can be processed, treated, packaged and distributed in a variety of ways depending on manufacturer. And while we spend $13 billion annually on bottled water, some of it is simply processed tap water.

Is bottled water safe?

Even though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets standards for bottled water, brands use a wide range of treatment methods and water sources. It’s important to read labels carefully and investigate treatment processes if you have any safety concerns about your bottled water. Furthermore, a new study released by Fredonia University of New York analyzed 11 different brands of bottled water that all contained microplastics. Along with reducing plastic waste from our environment, this is yet another compelling reason to go bottled-water-free.

Bottled water and the environment

Every minute, a dump truck’s worth of plastic ends up in the world’s oceans, according to an estimate from World Economic Forum in “The New Plastics Economy.” Plastic water bottles take 450 years to decompose§ which can result in harmful chemicals leaching into the ground and our water sources. With a simple switch from single-use plastic bottles to filtered water, you can make a significant impact on this global plastic epidemic.

Filter water vs. bottled water

Although both filtered water and bottled water can provide healthier, better-tasting water, the cost-effectiveness and smaller environmental impact of filtered water beats out bottled water at every turn. And when you consider the convenience and accessibility of home-filtered tap water, it’s difficult to justify paying for single-use plastic water bottles. To learn more about how filtered water can improve your life, visit our Why Brita® page.
  • ** Standard 500mL bottles
  • *Deloitte and Cheminfo Services Inc. (2019). Economic study of the Canadian plastic industry, markets and waste: Final report – Task 1, p.128 (unpublished).
  • † Versus 500mL bottled water. Savings assuming pre-purchase of Brita® system
  • ‡ Estimated Wholesale Dollars. Beverage Marketing Group, July 2017
  • § Source: NOAA Woods Hole Sea Grant Marine Debris Poster