School has started and with that comes new supplies, backpacks and the beginning of sports. This is also the best time to invest in a sport bottle to keep our kids, and ourselves, hydrated while out on the field or for just our daily routine.

School has started and with that comes new supplies, backpacks and the beginning of sports. This is also the best time to invest in a sport bottle to keep our kids, and ourselves, hydrated while out on the field or for just our daily routine.

Every living thing needs water to survive. Water covers 70 percent of our planet. Less than 1 percent of that is fresh water for us to use in drinking, cleaning, transportation, heating and cooling, industry and many other purposes.

The convenience of bottled water has surely hit all of us as we run out the door and grab a bottle on our way to the gym, ball game, soccer practice, or just to run an errand. Many people buy bottled water for the convenience alone, while others think that water out of bottles with pictures of mountain streams and cool rivers must surely be more pure than their tap water. Actually, the Environmental Protection Agency strictly regulates the codes and standards on tap water, while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates bottled water.

Interestingly, many bottled water distributers fill plastic bottles with the tap water in their facilities, which is perfectly legal. For example, both Pepsi’s, “Aquafina,” and Coca-Cola’s, “Dasani,” bottled waters are essentially bottles filled with tap water from their distribution plants. If that make you just as likely now to buy them as before, read on.

If you are going to buy bottled water, you might want to know why the prices vary and if there are differences in the water itself. There are several notable distinctions used on bottled water. If the bottled water you typically purchase does not have any of these on the label, then most likely it is tap water from the distributing company.  

Artesian water: Comes from a well, tapping an aquifer in which the water level stands at some height above the top of the water source. In other words, the tap is skimming the purest water off of the top of an aquifer (like an underground river) which then goes into a well and goes through a purification process. (Most of the city of Independence water is this type and recently came in third place (bronze) in the world at the 2012, 22nd Annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting Festival in West Virginia.)

Mineral water: Comes from a source tapped at one or more bore holes or springs, originating from a geologically and physically protected underground water source. Mineral water is distinguished from other types of water by its constant level and relative proportions of minerals and trace elements from the source. No minerals may be added to this water.

Purified water: Has been produced by distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis or other artificial process that meets the definition of “purified water” in the United States.

Spring water: Derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth.

Sparkling water: This is what my niece and nephew call, “fuzzy” water. After water treatment, carbon dioxide may or may not be replaced to contain the same amount of CO2 as when it was taken from the source. Sparkling water may come from all of the sources mentioned above and should be labeled as such. For example: Sparkling drinking water, sparkling mineral water, sparkling spring water, etc.

Why am I giving you so much information on bottled water? Because it is estimated that Americans buy 28 billion bottles of water a year, and 80 percent of those end up in a landfill… every year. That’s almost 22.5 billion bottles of a resource that could be recycled… each year. If the bottles were connected end-to-end, they could reach from the earth to the moon and back more than 11 times! Pretty sick, huh!

So, to keep your kids and family on the green-side of life, purchase a few refillable sport bottles – fill them from your tap and stick them in the fridge. They’ll be just as convenient, safe and healthy as the store-bought, pre-filled type and they’re guilt free! Go Green!