Belly up and hit the tap
Not long ago I was at a friend's house, and my four year-old asked me for a glass of water. I grabbed a cup and headed over to the sink.
"*GASP,*" my friend exclaimed. "Don't use that water, use the drinking water!"
"Oh, yeah, right, I don't know what I was thinking," I mumbled as I made my way towards the water tank I'd use countless times over the years I've known her.
Mere months ago I would have had the same reaction as her. In our last home, we had a state-of-the-art reverse osmosis water filtration system; only the purest of H's and O's made it through to our drinking water. When we moved to our rental home, it didn't have any filtration system at all, so we switched to bottled water.
But the thing is, we are on a budget. A serious budget. The paycheck-to-paycheck kind of budget (and sometimes we don't make it that far). Things have to give; items that were once necessities become luxuries.
Like bottled water.
At first I did the Sacrificial Mom thing and saved the bottled water for my kids, and I started to drink *gasp* tap water. It tasted...weird. Then I thought of how I grew up drinking municipal water (except for those years we had our own well), and how that water probably tasted very similar to what I was presently attempting to choke down.
Then I had a very interesting conversation with a friend in town whose husband is an environmental engineer; he just happens to study water. Guess what he drinks? And his kids?
Water from the tap.
He emphatically states our tap water is perfectly fine, and he knows it as well as anybody, and certainly better than most. He is so confident that it is safe his children have been drinking it from the moment they first swallowed something other than breast milk.
He's not alone; as much as forty percent of bottled water's source is from municipal taps. Furthermore, municipal water is regulated by the EPA...not so with some bottled water. So I started to feel better about drinking tap water and giving it to my kids.
Then I noticed how our recycling container wasn't as full as it had been, and how when I threw a container into it (our city provides each house with 65 gallon curbside recycling bins, half for paper products and half for plastic and glass containers) it tended to crash against glass rather than bounce off plastic. Hmmmmm...
That's right, now that we aren't buying bottled water by the gross we have greatly reduced not only our cash outflow, but also our plastic consumption. And that alone can't be a bad thing.