Bottled water

For table water, other legal requirements apply than with drinking water. This paper illuminates which specifications table water has to fulfill, whether it is generally cleaner and less polluted than drinking water, and how it is healthier than tap water.

Definition of bottled water

For spring water, the assumption that it must come from natural, underground sources. Bottled water, on the other hand, is drinking water that has been enriched with certain additives.

Bottled water is therefore not natural mineral water. Different types of water can be processed into table water. Bottled water contains basically only drinking water, as it comes from different lines.

Permitted trade names

Bottled water should not be declared as natural mineral water. It must also be specified no sources or wells from which it comes. Only the name "bottled water" is allowed.

Quality of bottled water

Bottled water has to comply with the required quality of drinking water according to the applicable legal regulations. The quality requirements are not as high as for spring water and medicinal water.

The commonly used manufacturing process allows controlled quality.

Production of bottled water

In order to produce a consistent taste at all bottling locations, bottled water is usually completely desalinated during the production process.

The demineralized water is then returned to the mineral water by the addition of minerals and other specific substances. The added quantities correspond to the requirements of the TrinkwV. In addition, table salt (sodium chloride) and carbon dioxide are usually added.

Purity of bottled water

The desalting process removes only ions and salts. However, any pollutants that occur in the source water, which are not charged particles, can remain in it. The purity of table water thus corresponds approximately to that of the source water.

Used quantities

Bottled water is mostly drunk in addition to natural mineral waters, as tap water. Often there is the misconception that bottled water is purer and of higher quality than drinking water from the line.

The difference in taste, however, stems only from a uniform mineral composition, which is achieved in the manufacturing process. This does not affect the actual quality of the water.

In Germany, there is a per capita consumption of around 126 liters of bottled water per person per year. In Italy, France and Belgium consumption is even higher. A total of around 190,000 million liters of bottled water are consumed worldwide each year.

Ecological concerns regarding bottled water

Especially with table water, the quality of the water is generally not higher than tap water. This applies to most European countries. However, the high consumption of bottled water - in contrast to tap water - causes a multitude of ecological problems.

High transport routes

The transport of water from the bottling plant to the retailers and from the retailer to the households creates enormous paths. Each of these transport routes in turn increases the CO2 burden of the traffic.

Discarded bottles must also be collected and, after reprocessing, also returned to the manufacturing and bottling plants. In the worst case, 0.3 liters of oil are needed per bottle on the transport routes.

Energy consumption in the bottling plants

The cleaning, preparation and refilling of bottles causes a high energy expenditure. Again, a lot of energy is needed, which increases the CO2 emissions.

PET bottles

Plastic bottles can not be reprocessed at will. Some of the bottles will eventually become waste. For reprocessing natural resources are needed, as well as energy. Worldwide, about 1.5 million tonnes of plastic are processed into plastic bottles every year.

Reusable bottles, on the whole, offer only a small improvement over non-returnable bottles when the overall environmental impact is considered. Compared to tap water, the burden on the environment when consuming bottled water is several thousand times greater.

In Germany, due to the deposit system, about one third of all PET bottles enter a so-called pure material cycle.

Health risks from PET bottles

PET bottles can have some health issues.


When filling PET bottles, only a so-called "cold sterilization" can be carried out. For this purpose, a substance called DMDC (dimethyl dicarbonate) is used.

During degermination, the substance is degraded, but a residue of O-methyl carbamate can remain in the water. This substance is at least in some countries of the world as carcinogenic.


Each PET bottle releases small amounts of acetaldehyde to the liquid in it. The fabric tastes slightly sweet. Although the concentrations measured so far are below the applicable limits, there is still a certain risk.

Actetalydehyde can cause liver cirrhosis. There are currently no valid statements about small amounts with long-lasting enjoyment. Protection against acetaldehyde is technically possible, but too expensive and expensive.


Water stored in PET bottles can exert a marked estrogen-like effect on the body. Estrogen is a female hormone. Two studies cited in articles from the years 2009 and 2011 come to this conclusion. Details are currently unknown.

Tips & Tricks

The purchase of bottled water is not only expensive, but also represents a massive environmental burden. Due to the tap water quality guaranteed in Germany, the consumption of bottled water in particular is completely superfluous.

Video Board: Here's what's in your bottled water (Marketplace)