In twenty years, our consumption of bottled water has doubled, placing France second among European countries behind Italy. While environmental concerns encourage us to reduce the use of packaging, even recyclable ones, filtering jugs can be a good compromise between tap water and buying bottles.
In France, tap water is perfectly safe for consumption. Its distribution is the responsibility of municipalities or their associations, in accordance with the water law of January 3, 1992. In order to be considered drinkable and distributed to the population, water must comply with values set by various decrees, including a lead content that must not be exceeded.
However, the appearance, smell, or chlorinated taste of tap water leads to some consumer mistrust.
Development of the bottled water market
In 2003, bottled water consumption was 149 liters per capita in France and this sector represented a market of 2.2 billion euros. However, this habit has its drawbacks in terms of cost and constraint, as transporting packs of bottles quickly becomes a weekly chore.
The filtering carafes
In this sector, the global leader Brita as well as its imitators offer pitchers designed to purify tap water.
This process has the advantage of filtering out limescale, a mineral that is harmless to health but leaves an unappetizing film on the surface of tea or coffee and causes appliances to become scaled. In terms of taste, this system removes the chlorine taste used to disinfect the water distributed through the tap.
More importantly, from a health standpoint, the increasingly efficient filtering pitchers would reduce the content of heavy metals (such as copper or lead present in pipes) and filter certain pesticides from the water. Finally, although the system filters organic impurities, it preserves trace elements and minerals.
In addition to some usage constraints (filling and filtering time), its major drawback is the price of purchasing the pitcher (between €23 and €38) and the filter cartridges (around €28 for a pack of 4 in stores and €60 for a pack of 12 online). However, it should be noted that one cartridge lasts for a month, regardless of the amount of filtered water, making this solution cost-effective for family use.