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Environmental comparison of bottled water, tap water and other beverages

Environmental comparison of bottled water, tap water and other beverages

how sustainable is…

This study investigates the environmental impact of bottled water compared to other drinks. The following graph provides a summary of some of the findings with regards to the climate change impact, non-renewable energy use and water use of various drinks. It shows that tap water has the lowest climate change impact and uses the least amount of non-renewable energy by far. Compared to many other drinks that contain ingredients other than water (including vitamin water and soda), it also shows that tap water uses significantly less water per litre of drink.

Graph 1 from Nestle bottle water LCASource: Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Drinking Water Alternatives and Consumer Beverage Consumption in North America.

Link to full report

While we make every effort to be accurate, we do not claim that this summary is representative. Please refer to our Legal Disclaimer for details.

what can I do to reduce my environmental footprint?

If you live in a place where tap water is safe to drink and you want to limit your impact on the environment, tap water (either filtered or unfiltered) is clearly your best choice. This finding is further supported by a another study: Comparative Life-Cycle Assessment of Bottled Versus Tap Water Systems.

Perhaps less obvious is the environmental impact of wine, coffee and milk compared to other beverages (refer graphic above).

The following graphic illustrates this point further:

Proportion of beverages by volume consumed by the typical American consumer and percent contribution to the climate change impact from beverage consumption.  Source: Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Drinking Water Alternatives and Consumer Beverage Consumption in North America

Proportion of beverages by volume consumed by the typical American consumer and percent contribution to the climate change impact from beverage consumption.
Source: Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Drinking Water Alternatives and Consumer Beverage Consumption in North America

Report Rating: 2 out of 3

Report Published: Feb 2010

Country: USA

Author(s): Quantis

Publisher: Nestlé Waters North America

Funder: Nestlé Waters North America

Keywords: life cycle analysis, LCA, cradle to grave analysis, environmental footprint, bottled water, tap water, drinks, beverages

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