Tap water vs bottled water: this is the situation in Italy
Consumption is almost 200 liters per capita per year. An alarming fact if we consider that in reality the Italian tap water is of excellent quality and offers all the sanitary guarantees.
The trend of drinking tap water in Italy is growing, but despite this still too many families opt to buy plastic bottles mainly for fear of what they are drinking or because the taste is not pleasant.
In a family of 4 people 1314 bottles of water are bought per year for an average cost of 380 euros.
However, not only is tap water better than bottled water, but it is an economical and environmentally sustainable solution.
It is true that the taste and smell may vary depending on the place of origin (in some cities it may contain more chlorine , used to make drinking water, others have more sulfates and carbonates), but this does not mean that it is absolutely safe .
The water supplied by Italian aqueducts is in fact drinkable and controlled according to the provisions of Legislative Decree 31/01 which defines the limits of the law and precise parameters for drinking. According to article 7, internal controls (monitored by aqueduct managers) and external controls are established (charged to the Food Hygiene and Nutrition Service of the ASLs of the competent territories).
Despite the daily checks, however, it is not always possible to know if the pipes of our condominiums or dwellings are effectively free from contaminants . These could in fact release heavy metals among the most common lead or increase water hardness and therefore the amount of dissolved calcium carbonate(limestone, which would not increase the risk of having kidney stones as many say, but alters the taste and the pH of the water).
Water filters: the types available on the market and their functioning
In the face of the various substances to be filtered, today there are different types of water filters, devices that are generally easy to use, aimed at purifying the domestic water flow.
In general, we can say that they are divided according to the purification technology that allows their operation. In fact, water filters exist to:
- Activated carbon;
- Reverse osmosis;
- Physical filtering;
A further distinction can be made based on the end use destination: there are carafe, tap or kitchen counter filters, for example.
Activated carbon water filters are generally considered effective against chlorates, pesticides and trihalomethanes.
Those that work according to the principle of reverse osmosis remove the largest particles present in the water, thanks to a physical process and a permeable osmosis membrane. This type requires the installation of a specific appliance under the sink, to be cleaned frequently.
The physical filter is effective in removing material components , such as iron and sandy dust. It is generally considered the least effective.
Water filters that follow the principle of softening are mainly used to make the water less hard and reduce the risk of limescale in domestic appliances.
Therefore, for domestic and food use , we can say that the most suitable water filters are those with activated carbon and reverse osmosis. However, the latter need to install a lot of space under the sink.
Biodegradable water filters: the experience of Tapp Water
TAPP Water is a young company founded in Barcelona with a very important mission: to avoid a billion plastic bottles by 2020. This year it will close with more than 25,000 filters sold and they are determined to raise awareness about consumption habits more sustainable water. The team declares:
“We at TAPP Water do not drink bottled water, we use our filter at home and in the office to filter tap water and fill bottles and glass cups or washable water bottles. Unfortunately we know that there is a lot of skepticism about drinking tap water, because you are not sure what you are drinking. Many do not know that the safety checks on the water are superior to those of bottled water and are able to see the environmental impact that the latter create on our territory. Our filters are born from the need to make tap water more accessible to everyone and to finally reduce the consumption of plastic bottles. The benefits, from the time of installation, will be economic, practical and environmental. Seeing is believing”
After two years of research, the Spanish company has launched its tap water filters on the market with a surprising response from consumers.
The latest TAPP 2 filter is an effective and affordable product.
TAPP 2 is the first filter for tap water with biodegradable cartridges. Its cartridges contain a block of activated carbon made from the shells of coconut nuts and pressed up to 1-2 microns. The activated carbon block allows to filter more than 80 contaminants, heavy metals (including lead) and chlorine which most of all normally gives that unpleasant taste and smell. It also filters microplastics , arsenic, nitrates, chromium and drugs, while the minerals proper to water, which are good for health, are not affected.
The cartridges are entirely made of non-toxic materials and can be thrown into the organic waste container. To ensure that the water is always microbiologically pure, the company recommends changing the cartridges every 3 months and offers a fairly cheap annual subscription for this.