It is amazing how many different water options are now available in restaurants, grocery stores, online, and even at home. When I was growing up, we had two water options available at home: water from the faucet or water from the hose. Nowadays, choosing which water you’ll be drinking at a restaurant is nearly as difficult as choosing the meal you’ll be eating for dinner. There has also been debate over whether or not these different categories of water carry any additional benefits. With so many options, it can be difficult to keep them straight–somehow, bottled water has become trendy. Let’s look at some of the more common categories of drinking water.
Tap water is water that comes out of a faucet without any filter attached, or water provided to a tap or a valve–think of the valves outside your house for your hose. Tap water is perfectly fine to drink, except for rare instances where water sources may be polluted. Although there are rarely any disadvantages to drinking tap water, taste and additional health benefits are not priorities, and many people that do not drink tap water are often sensitive to its “weird” taste. The taste of tap water can also be affected by the source, which depends on your location, as water from the tap is local.
Filtered water, in how we’re identifying it, is tap water that is filtered before consumption. This can be through a filter attached to the faucet or a filter kept in the refrigerator. Filters are marketed to remove chlorine and other chemicals, heavy metals such as lead or mercury, and any particles or compounds that can give tap water a less-than-optimal taste or smell. While the effectiveness of filters may vary, they generally increase the quality and taste of tap water.
Distilled water has been boiled in an attempt to purify it. Boiling water raises the temperature of the water high enough to kill pathogenic bacteria, viruses and protozoa, making it cleaner and safer for human consumption. However, distilling water can also remove most of the natural minerals present in the water prior to the distillation process.
Purified water can come from almost any source; thus, the quality is not contingent on where the water comes from, but how it is purified. There are many purification processes water can undergo, all with the general goal of removing chemicals or contaminants. Ways to complete the purification process includes distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis, chlorine, iodine solution, and carbon filtration.
Although the term “spring water” is common, particularly in the bottled water industry, what constitutes a spring can get a bit murky. Springs are bodies of water that naturally flow from aquifers–or underground deposits of water. Often, due to the structure and underground-placement of aquifers, spring water is filtered through rocks, which can lead to unique mineral compositions. Spring water has become contentious in recent years, with certain bottled water companies undergoing scrutiny regarding sourcing.
Holy water is water that has been blessed by a member of the clergy or some sort of religious figure. It is used in baptisms and religious cleansings, and has more pop culture applications such as a way to defeat vampires in horror films.
Sparkling water, or seltzer, is carbonated water, which means water that contains dissolved pressurized carbon dioxide gas. The effect is similar to the bubbles in soda without the additives of soda. With brands such as LaCroix, as well as a general push towards healthy eating and awareness, sparkling water has spiked in popularity in recent years, with sales jumping 42% in the past five years alone.
While mineral water is related to spring water in the unique mineral composition, mineral water specifically originates from “mineral springs” and contains salts and sulfur compounds that alter the composition of different waters. Some mineral waters even have carbonation. Mineral water, much like sparkling water, has seen a notable increase in popularity with brands such as San Pellegrino and Topo Chico, and often boasts health benefits along with the unique taste.
Vitamin-infused water doesn’t just refer to Vitamin Water. Vitamin-infused water refers to any water that has had vitamins (and, often, flavoring) added to it. While vitamin-infused water is often a way to liven up the otherwise basic taste of your typical water, the number of vitamins added to the water is rarely enough to equal eating a piece of fruit or making a fruit smoothie. Just like all water, what it does provide is hydration.
The New Kid on the Block – Volcanic Water
This leaves us with a new kind of water that has quickly been erupting on the scene (yes, pun-intended). Volcanic water is making a huge splash. When you think about it, your typical, everyday water is really a miracle drink. It is zero calories, hydrates the body, and has no sugars or fat. Is volcanic water really that much more special?
In short: yes, and in more ways than one. If you’ve never heard of volcanic water, you are not alone–yet the quick rise and versatility are difficult to ignore. Volcanic water spans many of the aforementioned categories: 420 Volcanic and Volcanic are volcanic mineral water brands, while Volvic and Jeju are volcanic spring water brands.
However, the top brand of volcanic water is Waiakea Water, which comes from Hawaii. Waiakea Water emerged on the scene in 2012 and has been gaining traction in the bottled water industry since. Waiakea water does not simply compete with other volcanic water brands, but more established bottled water brands as well. Their volcanic water originates as rain or snow on the Mauna Loa volcano. It is then filtered through lava rock and emerges at the base of the volcano. It is said to have a light taste and a high pH of 8.8, which makes it alkaline. The aftertaste of it is said to be a bit sweet.
What’s So Great about Volcanic Water?
Because of the filtering through the volcanic rock, the water is rich in electrolytes and minerals, much like more classic mineral water. We always hear how important it is for water and those fancy sports drinks to be packed with electrolytes. But do you have any idea what electrolytes are? Many automatic responses in the body rely on small electrical currents to function. Electrolytes are what provides this charge. They interact with cells, tissue, nerves, and muscles. Some of the most prevalent electrolytes are sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphate, and bicarbonate. All of these minerals are essential for optimizing your health.
With this unique mineral content, it provides the water with a high pH ranging from 7.6 to 8.8 which makes it naturally alkaline. Most regular drinking water has a neutral pH level of about 7. Alkaline water is believed to be able to neutralize the acid in the body. A study in the July 2012 edition of Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology titled “Potential Benefits of pH 8.8 Alkaline Drinking Water as an Adjunct in the Treatment of Reflux Disease” found that alkaline water could be an effective treatment for acid reflux because it neutralizes the stomach acid and pepsin. For those that have to constantly take prescription medications daily to handle the often troubling symptoms of acid reflux, volcanic water could be an answered prayer.
Another study in the 2001 issue of “Shanghai Journal of Protective Medicine” found something that should be interesting for those that suffer from bad cholesterol and blood pressure. They found that the people that drank alkaline water for three to six months actually had their cholesterol improved. Their blood pressure levels were better as well. And finally, they showed an improvement in blood glucose levels, too.
A Deeper Look into Waiakea Water
Ryan Emmons and Matt Meyer knew they were taking a chance when starting Waiakea back in 2012. The world needed another bottled water company about as much as a fish needs a bicycle. There are too many to count bottled water companies currently out there–in fact, bottled water was recently cited as America’s favorite beverage. Who would have thought thirty years ago that billions of dollars could be made from selling something that is basically free out of the faucets in our homes? However, Emmons and Meyer knew that if they incorporated the uniqueness of volcanic alkaline water with the heritage of Hawaii that they might have themselves a winner. The name Waiakea comes from the Hawaiian language. The words “wai akea” mean “broad waters.” Since the water is being produced with the help of a volcano in Hawaii, the pair wanted to call back to the water’s Hawaiian origin.
Solving the Problem of Bottled Water
Bottled water is a huge detriment to the environment. Everyone loves the convenience associated with bottled water, but the environmental footprint that it leaves on the globe is really quite astounding. Creating plastic bottles uses fossil fuels, which contribute significantly to the destruction of the ozone layer. In fact, America is the number one nation in creating the most water bottles every year. We add 29 to 50 billion water bottles a year to the problem, using 17 million barrels of crude oil in the process. That would be equal to supplying fuel for one year to a million vehicles.
The effects are piling up–in more ways than one. Only one in five plastic bottles are currently being recycled. The average American used about 170 water bottles a year, recycling less than 40 of them. What does all that plastic do to the environment? For one thing, the oceans are being filled with plastic bottles. We are ruining one of our most valuable natural resources. Over eight million tons of plastic is dumped into the oceans every single year. Eight million tons! (For those of you that struggled in math, a ton equals 2,000 pounds.) And according to a recent study, five countries are responsible for 60 percent of all the plastic in our oceans.
Just because you don’t live in one of those five countries does not mean that you’re off the hook. When was the last time you went out of your way to recycle a plastic bottle? In the United States, we are failing at recycling plastic. Only about 20 percent of plastic water bottles are recycled. The rest of the bottles go into our environment around us, polluting the land and water. The others head into our landfills, and that is really not much better. An ordinary plastic bottle will biodegrade in about a 1,000 years. That means those plastic bottles that are littering the landscape on the way to work every day will still be there for a really long time. Maybe you should start pointing out those plastic bottles in the ditches to your children, and they will be able to point out those same ones to their children, and their children’s children. A thousand years is a very long time.
Waiakea Water is off to a good start to fix the problem of plastic pollution. They use high-grade recycled polyethylene terephthalate for all of their bottles. So they are not creating brand new plastic bottles, thus they are not contributing to the manufacturing of more plastic. In doing so, Waiakea uses 85 percent less energy to manufacture the bottles. They use 90 percent less water in the process of manufacturing as well. And in doing all of this, they are reducing their carbon emissions by over 90 percent. Waiakea is greatly reducing the pollution in the beginning of creating their plastic water bottles, but what happens to the plastic bottles once they arrive to the consumer.
Degradable Plastic Bottles
CEO Ryan Emmons was determined to make Waiakea Water even more environmentally friendly. During a five year period, the company conducted countless experiments to improve their plastic water bottle. This year they finally achieved success with a game-changing breakthrough. Their water bottle will be the first biodegradable plastic bottle that will degrade and break down totally in 15 years. No longer will these plastic water bottles be around for more than ten centuries if they are not recycled. Waiakea’s dedication to this technology will hopefully become standard across the whole water bottle industry. A plastic water bottle that can fully break down so quickly will help limit the amount of pollution our world is facing. It will be up to the rest of the bottled water companies to follow suit and change from the current earth polluting bottles they are using.
Pump Aid is a company that is focused on bringing clean water to all parts of the globe. As people that have readily available water coming out of our faucets with a flick of the wrist or a simple touch and bottled water available at every store, we sometimes forget that not everyone is as fortunate. About 650 million people do not have access to clean water in our world. To put that into perspective, about 320 million people live in the United States currently.
More companies should be interested in solving the world’s problems. Pump Aid not only builds and installs special water pumps and wells in these places across the globe, but they teach also teach the people there how to service them so they continue to work properly.
Waiakea has officially teamed up with the nonprofit Pump Aid to help them achieve their quest of making clean water a right, not a privilege. Waiakea is donating a percentage of their profits to help Pump Aid make their goal a reality.
Their attention is now on Malawi, a southeast African town. This place is one of the most underdeveloped in the world. Most people would not be able to identify with the problems the people of Malawi are facing on a daily basis–clean water is truly a luxury. The leading cause of death is dirty water and poor sanitation for children under five years old in Malawi. This is also the second leading cause of death for the adults there. So for every liter of their water sold, Waiakea donates a week’s supply of clean water to people in need in Malawi.
Changing the World
How many bottled water companies give back to the world instead of focusing on the bottom line? All companies are out to make a profit, but just how much money does a business need to make them feel comfortable enough with ruining the environment around them. Waiakea Water is a company that stands above the rest of its competition.
Not only are they officially certified as Carbon Neutral since they use only low emission vehicles to deliver their products, but about three percent of Waiakea’s revenue goes towards helping local communities and nonprofit organizations that have the world’s best interests in mind.
Labeled one of Inc. 500’s fastest growing companies in America, Waiakea is not only providing an alkaline water that has several benefits for the consumer, but it is limiting our impact on the environment and contributing to other companies to do the same. Hopefully, it will only be a short matter of time before all plastic bottles are developed with the same technology that Waiakea uses. It is the one bottled water company that will not leave you feeling guilty when purchasing their product. Amidst all the choices, volcanic water just may be the way to go.