Tap it

Drink tap, use bottle

Water is the liquid of life, and it literally falls out of the sky for free. But the magic of marketing and the madness of men has led to us to spend £2.4 billion a year (WHAT?!) on bottled water in the UK.1

Disposable plastic water bottles have a hugely damaging environmental impact, particularly when it comes to polluting our oceans. Drink tap water for the next two months, save money and reduce waste while rehydrating the natural (and low impact) way.

play

Why

Here are a few reasons to take action.

Click for more info or scroll to read them all.

Health

One of the spells cast by marketing is that bottled water is healthier than tap. That’s a lie. In fact, depending where you are in the world, there are often tighter regulations on the quality of tap water than bottled water.2

What’s more, microplastics have been found in 93% of bottled water brands (although admittedly, the percentage is also high for tap water).3 We don’t know what the health impact of this is yet, but the World Health Organisation recently launched an investigation to find out.

So don’t fall for the lie, health is no reason to buy bottled.

25% - 45% of bottled water comes from the same place as your tap water.6

25% - 45%

of bottled water comes from the same place as your tap water6

Waste

While some plastics can be recycled, less than half of our plastic bottles are collected for recycling. Given that 480bn plastic drinks bottles were sold globally in 2016,4 that creates one huge heap of waste - adding to our fast overflowing landfills and escaping into our oceans.

The problem with plastic pollution is that plastic never ever rots down and disappears. Instead, it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, which are then eaten by fish and other sea creatures. This is bad news for those animals but - because microplastics (and the chemicals that bond with them) concentrate as they move up the food chain - it’s even more worrying for us. Plastic fish and chips anyone?

Here’s another way of thinking about it: if you were to buy one plastic bottle every day of your life, you’d leave behind a pile of waste bottles four to six times your bodyweight, which would slowly degrade and cause damage over the next few hundred years. Your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great- grandchildren would have a heap of of flaky plastic waste to remember you by.5

What a lovely legacy!

Climate change

Bottled water is 1,000 times more carbon intensive than its tap alternative,7 mainly because of packaging and transport.

And talking of transport, moving bottles of water around the globe adds about 100g CO2 per bottle to the equation.7 Fiji water in the Yorkshire Dales anyone? What?!

17,000 cars could be powered for a year on the oil that is used to produce water bottles in the UK.7

17,000

cars could be powered for a year on the oil that is used to produce water bottles in the UK.7

Taste

When it comes to blind taste testing, even die-hard bottled water advocates prefer the tap variety. Go on, test yourself.

And if you don’t like the taste, just set up a filter system for your home.

Money

£1 buys you 1,000 litres of tap water in the UK. Compare that to the cost of a litre of bottled water and… well, case closed, right?

Watch The Story of Bottled Water to delve a little deeper into this slippery industry.

Global Goals

In September 2017, an historic agreement was signed by UN member nations agreeing to work towards 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development by 2030, otherwise known as the SDGs.

Achieving these ambitious goals will require action from governments, businesses, NGOs, and individuals alike. We can - and must - all play our part.

By making the 'Tap it' pledge, you are contributing in your own small way to the following SDG targets:

12.5: By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse

12.8: By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature

13.3: Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning

14.1: By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution

How

How

Giving up bottled water for a few months (and beyond) is pretty straightforward really:

  1. Buy yourself a reusable bottle (or, for bonus points, use a bottle you already own, plastic or otherwise).
  2. Fill it up
  3. Drink.

If you’re a fan of flavoured water, try putting a slice of lemon, orange or lime in your water bottle at the start of the day. Or, if you’re feeling extra fruity, mix it up with strawberries, mint, watermelon, raspberries or cucumber.

If you’re out and about and need a top up, ask nicely and most cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars will fill it up for you. Keep an eye out for the Refill logo to spot extra friendly water-filling stations, or navigate to one using the Refill App.

One of our favourite reusable water bottles is from GiveMeTap. Buy one of their handy sized metal bottles and not only do you get a convenient and easy-to-clean bottle to drink from, you will also fund five years of clean drinking water for someone in Africa.

Success Stories

2,007

Pledges
in total

10,528kg

CO2
pledged

Surprising how much money you save at the train station when you are not paying c.£5 for a bottle of water each time!!

I did great - though got really thirsty at airports when I forgot to bring a reusable bottle!

I had one blip in this challenge, which was that shortly after starting it I travelled through an airport and assumed I wouldn't be able to use my refillable bottle, so I bought a bottle of water. However I then realised it made more sense to just bring my bottle and ask someone to refill it if there is no fountain. This worked fine the next time I travelled.

There's no need to buy bottled water unless it's an emergency! I am now also trying to stop buying other bottled drinks, such as juices, which I tend to buy at the weekend when I am out and about with my son.

I did purchase a few bottles unfortunately due to some bad planning but a lot less than normal, this was a great exercise as it always had me thinking.

I haven't brought a bottle of water since before Xmas, even at home I have started to drink water from glasses we have at home.

Bought and use a self filtering water bottle (Brita)

I've been refilling my water at the fountain down the hall - bought significantly less pop from the canteen (less than 10% of what I used to)

It was hard to avoid Tesco meal deals, but I did it! They need to find a drinks option that doesn't involve plastic bottles.

I have a water filter jug and do not buy plastic bottled water. I also purchased a glass water bottle and the water tastes better. The only draw back is that it's heavy to carry but worth it .

i stopped buying bottled water and drink water from the tap using a reusable bottle. It did not only save me money but also helped to save the environment.

had to buy a couple of bottles when i have been out

I found it easier than i thought and it had the added effect of me drinking more water. i took my pledge very seriously.

This is really a nice exercise and motivation.

This was easy at home/work but while traveling abroad in a country where you need to drink only bottled water it was nearly impossible (2 weeks out of 2 months)

Yes I will continue now I have reusable bottle

Not bought any bottled water for personal consumption over the last 2 months

Not always easy to completely avoid but it is on my mind to improve and be aware going forward.

Drinking tap is much easier and cheaper compared to buying bottles. I totally made it and saved money.

I bought myself a Pret reusable bottle and have not used a single bottle since! Free refill please :)

I brought the Pret reusable water bottle for work and brought a Brita filter water jug at home and they are both working well for me, I'm now not buying big bottles of Evian at home or taking the bottled water at work - just filling up from the tap.

I now carry a metal chilly bottle to fill from the tap

Love my Do Nation bottle!

Love my Give Me Tap water bottle - I haven't bought a single bottled water this year!

I fill my bottle and my son's water bottle and keep them in the fridge - loving fresh chilled local water! plus our bin isn't full of plastic bottles anymore

It was actually significantly easier to take a refillable bottle for traveling than I would have expected and will continue to do so.

I now use tap water all the time in work, I bring in my own coffee instead of using takeaway cups and I use tap water at the gym.

Cost me £12 for a good bottle but I have saved a massive amount of money through using tap water and it tastes fine

I refilled my bottles and my families bottles and put them in the fridge. No complaints.

I used to buy water bottles when required, but now after pledging to use reusable bottle, i have completely stopped buying bottles of water and reuse the same reusable bottle every time.

Loved taking part of the Tap it pledge journey! I will definately be continuing with it as it's become a habit for me and it has saved me alot of money on buying bottles of water everyday.

References

  1. The Guardian
  2. The Telegraph
  3. BBC News
  4. The Guardian
  5. On average, a 500ml bottle of water contains 12.7g of PET plastic (this is actually a very conservative figure as soda bottles weigh more, as much as 26g). If you drank one every day per year, that’s 12.7 x 365 = 4,635g per year. The average brit lives 81.6 years and weighs 70kg (female) or 83kg (male). Thats 81.6 x 4,635g plastic = 378kg plastic per lifetime. 378 / 70 = 5.4 women’s weight, or 378 / 83 = 4.6 men’s weight.
  6. UpWorthy
  7. Berners-Lee, M (2010). How Bad are Bananas?

Images