15 Outrageous Facts About The Bottled Water Industry

Published On November 3, 2011 | By Tomás Bosque | Articles

Water used to be free.

In fact, it still is — at least in nations blessed with plentiful clean tap water like the U.S. — but that doesn’t stop the world from spending over $100 billion on bottled water a year.

This strange industry is exploding overseas as well.

Who got the idea to sell us something we can get for free? And how did it get so popular that now more than half of Americans drink it?

Business Insider recently revealed 15 outrageous facts about the bottled water industry that you may not know about.

For example, this fact was shocking:

The production of water bottles uses 17 million barrels of oil a year, and it takes three times the water to make the bottle as it does to fill it.

For a product that claims to be environmentally responsible, the bottled water industry does more than its fair share of planet trashing. The amount of oil used to make a year’s worth of bottles could fill one million cars for a year, and more water is used in making the bottle than filling it.

Read the full article at BusinessInsider.com »


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12 Responses to 15 Outrageous Facts About The Bottled Water Industry

  1. Plastic from oil?

    If you havent fact checked this, what else have you missed?
    Exactly what are the street addresses of plants in the us who nput oil and output feedstocks for PET? I will pay you 500 bucks for each example.

    Plastic is derived from natural gas or naptha which cant be refined into oil.

    • Tomas Bosque says:


      Thanks for your comment! The real problem is the energy cost: PET itself is typically made from petroleum. Making a kilogram of PET, which is enough for around 30 one-liter plastic bottles, takes around 3 liters of petroleum. More energy is then required to turn that PET into bottles, to filter, ozonate, or otherwise purify the water, to run the bottling machines, and to chill the bottle before use.

      Put all the different pieces together in the production and transportation of bottled water, and the energy costs of bottled water can be the oil equivalent of a quarter or more of the volume of the bottle.

      A study published in Environmental Research Letters in 2009 concluded that global production and use of bottled water required the equivalent of between 100 and 160 million barrels of oil in 2007, along with all of the concomitant environmental consequences of getting and using fossil fuels.

      By the way I’ll give you my source: the Pacific Institute. Their aim is to find real-world solutions to problems like water shortages, habitat destruction, global warming, and environmental injustice.

    • D says:

      True but the plastic doesn’t make itself. It takes machines which use oil and electricity.

  2. PaulL says:

    The thing that I think many people miss is that bottled water isn’t a replacement for tap water. Bottled water is, more often than not, a replacement for soft drink. Reset your expectations on that, and suddenly I’d much rather that lots of people were drinking fizzy mineral water from planet destroying bottles than that they were drinking coke from planet destroying bottles and getting fat whilst they were doing it.

  3. Jose brito says:

    How much oil is used to make botlled water each year and how much pollution does it cause in the years 2012-2013?

  4. Patrick Cleveland says:

    The focus on how much fuel and other resources to make plastic bottles is important but equally important is what all this is doing to our landfills. I know a certain amount is recycled but the majority is just discarded and ends up in a landfill. There are many other products such as the newer coffee and tea containers that are equally as bad. We have become a very convenience orientated society with no regard for the consequences.

  5. anonymus says:

    how long does it take to make a plastic bottle

  6. lollypop123 says:

    what is the transportation required to get a plastic bottle to the shop

  7. beetle02 says:

    How much money does 17 million barrels of oil cost?

  8. Anoymunus says:

    Where does plastic come from?

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