Get Off the Bottle

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Taking a Look at Bottled Water

Bottled water costs up to 2000 times more per volume than tap water. About a quarter to a half of commercial bottled water is just tap water that’s been filtered or purified. Well over half of plastic water bottles are not recycled -- and still we drink from them.

Getting off the bottle is more than a slogan, it's a necessity for the earth and for retaining water as a public resource. In buying bottled water, consumers are inadvertently legitimizing the capture of water that belongs to all of us by private, for-profit companies who reap unearned, gargantuan riches. Water belongs to the public and cannot be privately owned. Turning water into a product for private profit is inconsistent with the 1500-year-old public trust doctrine of law and risks putting all water up for grabs. 

FLOW's Get Off the Bottle campaign is designed to help you understand what's at stake - and entertain you - and inspire you to take action in your daily life.


Bottled water costs up to 2,000 times more per volume than tap water.


Well over half of purchased plastic single-serve bottles are not recycled.

Environmental Harm

By 2050, it is estimated that there will be more plastic be weight in our oceans than fish.


In many cases, health standards for tap water are stricter than those for bottled water.


In 2016, 12.8 billion gallons of bottled water were purchased in the U.S.


Bottled water companies do not have to produce quality reports for their consumers.


In blind taste tests, consumers often rank tap water ahead of some types of bottled water.


90% of bottled water contain microplastics. Concentrations in bottled water roughly double those in tap water.

Misleading Labels

About 64% of bottled water comes from municipal water systems.

What You Can Do:

  • Use a Reusable Water Bottle

  • Drink water from the tap or from a drinking fountain (and skip the straw while you're at it).

  • Support policies that promote clean, affordable, and public water. 

  • Participate in FLOW's Get Off the Bottle campaign by spreading the word, buying a sticker or yard sign, or donating.

  • Sign up for FLOW's newsletter to stay up to date on this campaign and other important Great Lakes news.


FLOW's Get Off the Bottle Video

Story of Stuff Bottled Water Video