Calculating the True Cost of Bottled Water

A majority of travelers (myself included) can be found toting around a bottle of water no matter where they are. But in countries like India or Mexico, where the tap water is simply undrinkable to the non-local, hydrating from a sealed bottle of mineral water is a must if you have any intentions of remaining healthy. This has led to plenty of controversy, especially in places like India where the entire country is littered with excess garbage generated in part by plastic bottles of water. Because of this, many environmentally-conscious travelers have been coming up with better ways to drink clean, safe water without jeopardizing the local environment (a topic for another post, perhaps). Here’s another reason why finding an alternative to bottled water might be a good idea:

Pablo Päster is an “independent Sustainability Engineering Consultant,” who appears on’s Ask Pablo column answering a myriad of reader-submitted environmental questions. This one comes from Maryline: “I am interested to know the ‘true-cost’ of a bottle of Fiji water that currently sells for $1.50 in the United States.”

Pablo follows up with a thorough break-down of all the costs involved in creating, bottling, and shipping a bottle of water to market. I’ll save you the trouble of reading the details (but please, go ahead and read it if you’d like!) and give you the true cost of a $1.50 bottle of water: $0.22. That’s a mark-up of $1.28.

Stop and think about that the next time you grab for a bottle of water — whether you’re traveling or not.

[via grow-a-brain]