Bottled H20: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Originally posted in FOX Business on July 1, 2015

It’s currently the best-selling beverage in the country—and with global consumption rising—bottled water is averaging a growth rate of 6% per year since 2008 with sales expected to reach about 233 billion liters this year, overtaking soda by about 1.3%, according to market research group Canadean.

Pepsi’s (PEP) Aquafina and Coke’s (KO) Dasani are the leading the pack, making up 24% of the bottled water industry in the United States.

“People are shifting away from caloric and artificial drinks like soda. They know it’s not good for them and they’re going towards water instead,” says Ralph McRae, CEO of Leading Brands Inc.(LBIX), a North American healthy beverage company and Maker of HappyWater.

But if you’re spotted drinking from one—you may get some glares.The plastic water bottle industry has been a lightning rod because not enough consumers are recycling. San Francisco even made moves when they banned the sale of them last year.

The average American consumed 167 disposable water bottles last year, but only recycled 38 of them, according to an anti-plastic bottle campaign Ban the Bottle. This means that 38 billion water bottles—more than $1 billion worth of plastic – were wasted last year.

“Consumers are used to purchasing convenience beverages on the go and the efforts to change consumer behavior with refillable bottles have not been sufficient to counteract the health driven trend,” says Jeremy Adams, Vice President of Marketing for Boxed Water, an eco-friendly and BPA-free packaged water company.