When you go to the restaurant and ask for a glass of water, it's okay if they give you tap water or ask for bottled water?

Many people still don't trust drinking tap water and prefer bottled water; ISTAT reports that in the 2019 around 29% of Italians follow this trend, with higher numbers in Sardinia (59,9%) and Sicily (53,1%), while Umbria is in the lead for the consimo of bottled water.

What is it we don't like about tap water?

The water we drink, whether it is bottled or not, comes from superficial sources, like lakes, rivers and seas, or from underground sources: it is collected and purified. The purification process takes place in various subsequent steps, who use principles of a physical nature, chemical and biological. The small suspended solids are separated by sedimentation, the organic component is treated with the help of microorganisms that biodegrade these substances and eventually some chemical treatments, such as the use of chlorine, disinfettano il tutto e aggiustano il pH.

This water can then be transported through the pipes to our home; but it doesn't end there. La qualitá dell’’acqua infatti viene continuamente controllata per garanire che la composizione minerale sia corretta e che non sia avvenuta nessuna contaminazione.

How to evaluate the quality of water? There are simple kits that thanks to colorimetric chemical reactions, they can indicate what is the level of some chemicals in the source we want to analyze. While other kits are used to see if there are any dangerous life forms such as bacteria or fungi.

And for bottled water? Bottling takes place close to the source and through an automated process, the water is collected, bottled and packaged. It cannot undergo further treatments other than those listed above, with the exception of the addition of carbon dioxide to obtain sparkling water; but as for purifications and enrichments, the composition is the same as the source and therefore the same as the tap.

To make a comparison, le acque del rubinetto subiscono maggiori controlli di quelle in bottiglia e i valori di alcuni minerali sono molto piú bassi nelle prime che nelle seconde.

Tap water or plastic water is better?

Bottled water has a significant impact on the environment. For each plastic bottle we consume we must consider the container material and the transport of the product. La plastica utilizzata per le bottiglie e per l’impacchettamento delle confezioni proviene da sorgenti non rinnovabili e la sua produzione e utilizzo ci costano caro in termini di salute ambientale.

Always speaking in energetic terms: but how heavy it is to bring a case of water from the store home? You wouldn't prefer to avoid those 9 Kg of ballast once and for all?

Furthermore, plastic is not the safest material for water conservation: the bottles are stored for a long time and over time with the plastic changes in temperature, which acts as a container tends to degrade and release potentially polluting substances into the water itself. The expiration date on our water bottles does not refer to the content, but to the container.

And what if I don't like the water in my home because it contains too much calcium or too many metals? No fear, si puó filtrare.

There are in fact many types of filters, applicable to the tap, either by the bottle or as a jug, che depurano ulteriormente l’acqua.

A filter jug ​​works thanks to the presence of a cartridge inside that can contain some types of substances capable of changing the organoleptic properties of water. These are mainly ion exchange resins and / or activated carbon. Ion exchange resins are solid particles, and in contact with water containing calcium carbonates (limestone) they are able to "trap" calcium and magnesium ions by exchanging them with others (for example sodium). This process is called "softening" of the water, as it makes it less "hard" that is calcareous. The main difference for the end user is mainly in the flavor and the organoleptic properties of the outgoing water must be guaranteed by the manufacturer. It is therefore important to follow the instructions on using the product, as a single cartridge is able to soften a finite quantity of water, beyond which it no longer has a particular effectiveness. Some jugs have activated carbon in them, a very porous solid substance, which is able to adsorb any unwanted organic compounds. As already mentioned, however, no substance in quantities harmful to health comes out of our taps, therefore the effect is always only on our perception of the "taste" of water.

In conclusion, the use of the filter jug ​​is neither dangerous (when used according to the manufacturer's instructions) nor does it lead to a measurable improvement in the quality of the water we drink in terms of health.

You want sparkling water? No problem! There are CO2 dispensers that make your sparkling water to taste!

We have alternatives? Un’alternativa potrebbe essere utilizzare le bioplastiche come materiale per l’imbottigliamento e il packagin.

In terms of sustainability, plastic can be divided into 4 main types, based on the origin of the raw material and its biodegradability. The most common is plastic that comes from fossil sources (it is. Petroleum) and which is not biodegradable, but it can only be recycled by mechanical or chemical methods. The majority of the plastics we use today belong to this category; think of PET bottles, to the packaging of a large part of our food or to the parts of our cars. The same plastics, that we are able to do this way, they can also come from renewable raw materials, with a few more steps (second type).

A third type are those plastics that derive from fossil coal, but which can then be biodegraded by composting. Finally, there are those materials that we can consider as the "real" bioplastic, or that derive from renewable raw materials and that are biodegradable once their use is finished. Please note, we are talking about biodegradable materials in very specific process conditions, like those found in a compost plant. If we take a piece of "bio" plastic and abandon it in nature, this will remain so for a long time, creating the damage we are unfortunately used to. Therefore, it is also important to treat bioplastic as a waste to be managed correctly and to have it arrive in an appropriate facility to treat it.

Then, returning to the original question, If you go to the bar or restaurant, ask for bottled or tap water?