It's handy and convenient to be able to bring water with you when you're on the go, not to mention great for healthy hydration. Unless you have access to a good filtered water cooler (like the ones at Clean & Clear water coolers online, for example), carrying a water bottle is your only option once you leave the house.
As people are trying to drink more water, the bottled water industry is booming. Unfortunately, that is a terrible thing for the planet.
Increase in Garbage
Even though plastic water bottles are completely recyclable, they frequently end up in the regular garbage or tossed at the roadside as litter. According to Treehugger, the United States uses 1,500 disposable plastic water bottles every single second. That adds up to many billions of bottles each year, and it's estimated that 80% of them end up in the landfill. So when people talk about how harmless these bottles are because they're recyclable, it's not really a valid point. Even if everyone did recycle their bottles, there is more to the environmental picture than that.
Waste of Resources
It's not just about where all the plastic goes after you've had your drink, it's all the resources used up (and pollution created) when the bottles are made in the first place.
On average, around 50 billion barrels of oil were used during the entire production process for bottled water in the USA, for one year. That includes the materials that went into making the bottles, as well as all the energy it takes to make and transport them.
Though that's the major waste problem with bottled water, you also should consider the water itself. Bottling plants drain their local water sources by huge volumes in order to produce their product. That is almost always disruptive and destructive to the ecosystems and natural water sources in the area. On the other hand, if people used their own water, it would spread the demand out over large areas and not be as damaging to any one location.
But Isn't It Healthier?
It might be, but probably isn't. There is very little regulation in bottled water labelling, and there is no guarantee that the water in that bottle is any cleaner than the water coming out of your tap. In fact, it may even be worse for you due to chemicals leaching into the water from the plastic bottle material. If you don't trust your tap water, a good household filter will clean that up.
And though it's not an environmental point, commercial bottled water is far more expensive than your own tap water. It may not seem like it when you buy a cheap 50 cent bottle of water, but ounce for ounce, you're paying about 1000 times more for bottled when compared to your own tap water.
So, try to fill up your own reusable water bottle whenever you're out, so that you have water on hand without resorting to commercial bottled water. If you have filtered water at home, all the better. You'll save a lot of money and be doing the planet a huge favor while you're at it.