Ditch the plastic for Bottled Water Free Day

We've got five reasons for you to consider giving up bottled water, and four reusable alternatives

water, faucet, tap

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Today marks Canada’s second annual Bottled Water Free Day, a day devoted to avoiding bottled water and opting for tap water instead.

Run by the Canadian Federation of Students, Bottled Water Free Day encourages communities across Canada and the world to take action to ban the bottle and reclaim public water.

Last year, thousands of Canadians participated in events highlighting the negative impacts of bottled water. Over 60 universities and campuses organized events, and nearly 4000 Canadians signed a personal pledge to not drink bottled water.

Here are a few reasons to opt for tap water over bottled:

Water is a human right: According to the Red Cross, there are over 880 million people worldwide who lack access to clean, drinkable water, resulting in the death of more than two million people each year. In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly voted to recognize the right to water and sanitation as basic human rights, affirming that every person has the right to safe, clean, and affordable water.

Plastic bottles usually end up in a landfill: Though they are recyclable, the majority of plastic bottles end up in the trash. In the U.S. only 12 percent of “custom” plastic bottles, most of which are water, hit recycling bins in 2003, according to R.W. Beck Inc. — that’s 40 million bottles a day that go to landfills instead.

We use oil to make plastic water bottles: The plastic bottles that our water comes in are made with oil, a non-renewable resource — according to the Pacific Institute, it takes three litres of oil to produce one litre of bottled water, which adds up to 17 million barrels annually. The manufacturing of plastic bottles involves the creation of significant amounts of greenhouse gases, leading to climate change and global warming.

Tap water is safer than bottled water: In most Canadian municipalities, tap water is tested for bacteria every four hours each day. Bottled water plants, however, only require inspection once every three years. Studies have found bacterial contaminants, organic chemicals (such as industrial solvents and chemicals leeched from plastics) and inorganic contaminants (such as arsenic) in bottled water available for sale.

Bottled water is expensive: In North America, bottled water can cost anywhere from 240 to 10,000 times more than tap water, according to Food and Water Watch. You can use this online calculator to figure out how much bottled water is costing you each year.

Ready to ditch your bottled water? Purchase a reusable bottle as a replacement. Reusable water bottles are better for your health and the environment. Luckily, there are plenty of cute reusable bottles on the market to choose from. Opt for a stainless steel bottle, as hard plastic bottles may contain bisphenol A (BPA), which some preliminary studies have associated with breast cancer and early puberty. Here are our top picks:

For the fashionista: Sigg 0.6L Vivienne Westwood Limited Edition Bottle, $22
If Dame Vivienne Westwood approves, it must be eco-friendly. The Swiss brand Sigg has teamed up with the designer to provide an eco-friendly alternative to plastic water bottles at fashion shows. Made of durable stainless steel, these limited-edition bottles are BPA- and phthalate-free. You can also customize your own Sigg bottle to make it as unique as you are.

For the yoga fan: Luluelemon Simply Stainless Steel Bottle, $25
Want to share your mantra with the world? Consider buying Lululemon’s version of the stainless steel bottle. “What we do to the earth, we do to ourselves,” and “Love your life” are a few of the sayings featured on these brightly coloured bottles.

For the traditionalist: klean kanteen 18oz Wide, $19
Priding itself on making the “Original Stainless Steel Bottle,” klean kanteen uses food-grade stainless steel to ensure your water stays flavour-free. The large-mouth opening makes for easy pouring and cleaning, and is great for adding in ice cubes or lemon slices.

For the water advocate: Kor One Special Edition, $35, or $120 for a set of four
Want to contribute even more to the cause? Kor One has created a collection of special edition bottles to raise awareness of critical water issues. Each “hydration vessel” is devoted to a specific water-related cause – blue for ocean protection, green for wetland protection, orange for bottle recycling, and pink for the global water crisis. Five percent of sales from these bottles will go to Kor’s Thirst for Giving campaign.

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