GoodGuide has rated 270 of the

Best Bottled Waters

Best Rated Bottled Waters

Buying Guide: The issues

Is buying bottled water worth the environmental impact? Educate yourself with the following bottled water facts:

  • When it comes time to dispose of empty bottles, only about 25% are recycled, and the rest end up in our landfills. As a result, bottled water creates a large solid waste management burden.
  • While consumers may believe that bottled water is “safer” than tap water, this is a misconception: the quality of municipal tap water is actually regulated more tightly than bottled water. Some brands of bottled water even use municipal tap water as their source and subject it to minor treatment before bottling.
  • Tap water is roughly 750–2,700 times less expensive than bottled water on a per-gallon basis, for what is often an equivalent or better product.
  • The energy cost of producing bottled water (taking into account manufacture, transport, and refrigeration) is more than 1,000 times the energy cost of producing tap water.
  • Groundwater extraction sites can take a toll on local communities and the surrounding environment.

Buying Guide: What to look for

If you must buy bottled water for one-time use, make sure that it comes from a nearby source and is packaged in lightweight containers. Water transported over long distances has a large energy and carbon footprint. Heavy packaging materials like glass have larger transportation impacts than light-weight packaging. As always, be sure to recycle the container after use.

Scoring Drinks

Overview

Drinks are organized into the following sub-categories: juices, smoothies, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, sports drinks, prepared teas and coffees, and bottled water.

GoodGuide's Health ratings for drinks are based on the same methodology we use to rate food products, including:

  • the nutritional value of the drink, as characterized by a standard method of nutrient assessment called the “Ratio of Recommended to Restricted Nutrients” (RRR);
  • indicators of whether levels of specific nutrients exceed public health guidelines;
  • the presence of potentially hazardous additives such as certain food colors; and
  • indicators of various production practices that affect the quality of a food product.

Product-level Environment scores for this category are based on:

  • Container material, indicating a product's material choice and waste management impacts;
  • Country of origin, indicating a product's transportation impact; and
  • Certifications of product quality.