Frequently Asked Questions


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How much water is used to produce bottled water in United States?

Of all the water used in the United States each year, only 0.01% is used in the production of bottled water. The average bottled water facility uses less water annually than a typical golf course. On average, it takes less water to produce a bottle of water than any other packaged beverage.

Can bottled water companies take as much water as they like?

Bottled water providers must comply with water use regulatory framework, which applies to all water users. All bottlers adhere to federal, state, and local regulations, which may include withdrawal limits and fees, taxes, local regulatory oversight, and applicable facility monitoring and inspection.

I’ve heard that it can take more water to deliver tap water than the same amount of bottled water. How is that possible?

Surprisingly, it’s often true. The water bottling process is designed to be highly efficient and conserve water during the production process. On the other hand, the pipes that carry much of  water for residential use are more than 50 years old. One-sixth of all treated water in the U.S. is being lost to deteriorated infrastructure, broken pipes, and leaks. People also often let the water run for a few seconds before filling their glass. As amazing as it sounds, more water is often lost providing a glass of water through your tap than in producing a bottle of water.

Why is bottled water important?

The availability of bottled water is important for a variety of reasons.

Bottled water is an essential tool for our first responders during natural disasters or times of emergency. This important commodity is a basic human need – people can die without it. When tap water is unavailable or unsafe, it is vital that everyone has access to clean and safe drinking water.

Bottled water is also the healthy choice for our active lifestyles. Instead of choosing a sugary beverage full of empty calories, the availability of bottled water helps us continue our healthy habits. When consumers don’t have the option to choose bottled water, they unfortunately often migrate to less healthy drinks.

Finally, the bottled water industry is vital to our economy – employing tens of thousands of workers across the United States.

Who uses bottled water? Why?

There are really just too many uses and needs for bottled water to count – from the first responders who deliver bottled water during times of crisis to the young kids playing a tough game of soccer on a hot day.

Bottled water is a smart decision and a healthy choice when it comes to choosing a packaged beverage option. For people who want to eliminate or moderate calories, sugar, caffeine, artificial flavors or colors, and other ingredients from their diet, or simply wish to opt for a convenient beverage with refreshing taste, reliable quality, and zero calories, choosing bottled water is the right choice.

Most of the water bottled produced in a region is also sold in that same region. Shipping bottled water great distances or out of state often adds too much to the cost of the product – so most of the water bottled stays near where it was produced.

How many bottled water containers get recycled?

We know two things about bottled water drinkers: they recycle more often than other beverage drinkers, and they also litter a lot less, according to a recent survey by Keep America Beautiful.

All bottled water containers are 100 percent recyclable, and the recycling rate for single-serve PET plastic bottled water containers currently stands at 33%. With your help, we can increase that recycling rate substantially. The bottled water industry supports strong community recycling initiatives and recognizes that a continued focus on increased recycling is important for everyone.

Recycling is an important issue for bottled water drinkers, and their commitment to recycling is supported by the fact that bottled water containers make up nearly 55% of the PET plastic collected in curbside recycling programs, according to the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR). For comparison, soft drink PET bottles make up only 15%. In addition, 3- and 5-gallon plastic bottled water containers commonly used with home and office delivery services are reused between 30-50 times before being recycled..

How important is water resource management in providing bottled water?

Because they understand the vital importance of water stewardship, bottled water companies are committed to using their water sources in a conscientious manner. Bottled water producers are deliberate with their water use — so much so that researchers universally acknowledge that bottled water is the packaged beverage with the lowest water use ratio. To make 1 liter of finished bottled water product for consumption, bottled water companies use (on average) 1.39 liters of water — and that includes the 1 liter of water that you drink.

Of all the water used in the United States each year, only 0.01% is used in the production of bottled water. Using such a small amount is only possible because bottled water companies weave environmental stewardship practices throughout all of their business operations, including source selection, production processes, and product delivery.

Is bottled water regulated?

Yes. In fact, bottled water is comprehensively regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a packaged food product. Tap water is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). By federal law, the FDA regulations governing the safety and quality of bottled water must be at least as stringent as the EPA standards for tap water. And, in some very important cases (for example, lead) bottled water regulations are substantially more stringent.

Do you know the facts about the bottled water industry’s water use?

Why not take our Quiz and really put your knowledge to the test!

Water Source Management

Bottled water companies work to ensure the availability of healthy hydration products and the sustainable management of water

Healthy Hydration

Americans have made bottled water their No.1 packaged beverage choice

Emergency Response

Bottled water provides clean, safe water for citizens and first responders during and after a natural disaster/catastrophic event

Social Media Graphics

Shareable images that help tell the story of bottled water’s minimal water use

Bottled Water’s Vital Role During Emergencies

Bottled water plays a vital role in the lead up to and recovery from disasters and other emergencies. This video reminds people to take a moment to reassess their risks and update hurricane kits and emergency plans. Being prepared in advance of a threat means stocking up on emergency supplies such as non-perishable food, drinking water, batteries, etc., in sufficient quantities to last at least 72 hours. In fact, FEMA advises that the safest, most reliable emergency drinking water is commercially purchased bottled water and recommends at least 1 gallon per person per day, for at least three days.


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