One in two say bottled water tastes same as tapWhich? says reasons for bottled are running out

24 July 2008

Bottled water production

Most of the bottled water we buy is still, so could be replaced by tap water

Bottled water may be losing its sparkle after a Which? survey found many people think it tastes just the same as tap water.

Half of the 3,039 people we polled said they didn't think there was any difference in terms of quality and taste – with almost a fifth saying they actually preferred the flavour of tap water.

But there is a huge difference in price.Tap water costs 0.22p a litre - 141 times cheaper than the best-selling mineral water, Evian.

Evian

Evian costs 31p a litre in a supermarket but is likely to be more if you buy it on the high street.

Britons splashed out £1.68bn on more than 2 billion litres of bottled water in 2006 but there are signs that the public’s thirst for bottled is drying up.

Nearly a quarter of the people we surveyed said they are drinking less bottled water than a year ago.

Our survey also found 84% of people believe tap water is better for the environment than bottled.

Environment

The bottled water production process wastes an estimated 2 gallons of water for every gallon purified to put into a bottle.

Some bottled waters also come from as far away as New Zealand, and most plastic water bottles go to landfill where they could take up to 450 years to decompose.

Which? supports the idea of installing free tap water ‘refilling stations’ (similar to vending machines) in public spaces.

There are plans to pilot 10 of these stations around London and if the idea spreads across the UK, we believe it could have a real impact on water-drinking habits.

Drinking water

Which? editor Neil Fowler said: ‘There are plenty of good reasons for choosing tap water.

‘You can save money, it’s better for the environment and it can taste just as good - if not better.'