The Environmental Cost of Bottled Water

by Paul McTaggart

Over the past decade or so, the bottled water industry has exploded. It is estimated to have tripled in size over this period, with a massive array of brands now competing for consumers' attention across the sector. The most notable brands in the industry, such as Volvic, Evian or Vittel for example, are now far from the only recognisable bottled water brands in the world.

They have been joined by competitors like Smart Water, Vitamin Water, and Saka to name but a few. According to, 200 billion bottles of water are consumed globally every year - 176 billion of which are not adequately recycled. In the UK, we consume 300 million plastic bottles of water every year. There has been a move in recent years to move towards a more 'socially responsible' approach to manufacturing plastic bottles from water companies, with BPA-free and BPS-free bottles. The idea is to make plastic bottles using less plastic. There is of course an oil demand in the production of plastic and it is estimated that it takes 17 million barrels of oil every year to manufacture plastic bottles. A thought-provoking way of visualising the energy cost of the life cycle of bottled water is to imagine filling a quarter of the bottle with oil. It also takes three times the volume of water to manufacture a plastic bottle than it does to fill it. It is clear that the production of plastic bottled water is about as sustainable as it is efficient.

However, the industry is now heavily dominated by corporations, such as Nestle, who have astronomical sums of money riding on the mass production and consumption of bottled water. The UK bottled water industry is now worth more than £2billion per annum. The stack of statistics underlining the environmental impact of the current levels of consumption highlight the importance of finding a more sustainable alternative.

A Phox Alkaline Water Filter is one of these alternatives. In the developed world we have a massive infrastructure which brings water straight into our houses, offices and leisure facilities through a tap. To think that in the UK we are using 300 million plastic bottles a year when we have an instant water supply at our finger tips defies logic. Kinetic Water's filter allows you to get that bottled water taste straight from your tap, without the need for a plastic bottle. We intend to reduce plastic bottle usage by 1 million bottles by 2020 through use of our filters. Together we can create a positive change and reduce the needless impact that plastic bottle consumption is having on the environment.