5 Bottled Waters To Feel Good About

You're not alone if, like me, you grimace each time you reach into the cooler at a gas station or grocery store for a bottle of water. I'm usually kicking myself for forgetting to fill up a stainless-steel bottle at home with tap or filtered water. Suddenly that road trip or work commute makes me feel like I'm wrecking the environment simply because I'm thirsty – and forced to turn to the option that's the least eco-friendly.

However, there are refreshing alternatives when it comes to quenching your thirst. Several brands of bottled water either give back to the community (and not just any community, but one in a developing country that lacks safe drinking water), or feature plastic that is biodegradable (made from plant-based materials). Still more have engineered a lighter bottle (that uses fewer fossil fuels to ship) or switched from using petroleum-based plastics. Next time you're on the run, look for one of these bottled waters and experience no guilt.

  1. Evian

This past spring Evian, owned by Danone Waters of America, Inc., pledged to redesign its 1.5 liter bottle so it includes two eco-friendly mantras: 11 percent less weight and 50-percent recycled-PET. If you've already sipped from the new design then you know it's also a more flexible plastic – which Evian says is easier to crush and therefore takes up less space in your recycling bin. (Pretty brilliant, huh?)

  • Aquafina
  • Two years ago PepsiCo, which owns the Aquafina name, unveiled the half-liter Eco-Fina bottle, weighing 10.9 grams, which is 50 percent less than what Aquafina weighed when it debuted in 2002. Eco-Fina claims to be the lightest bottle of its size among American bottled-water brands. The environmental impact of this lighter bottle, says PepsiCo in a press release, is that it eliminates 75 million pounds of plastic each year.

  • Hope Springs Water
  • Bottled by Premium Water in Fort Worth, Texas, and at this point available only in Texas, 100 percent of the purchase price helps communities in Nicaragua and Uganda build safe, clean drinking-water facilities. The product debuted this month so it's possible there will be waves of distribution outside of Texas down the road. (A note on the web site states that if you want a large order shipped elsewhere to definitely inquire.)

  • Re:newal
  • Spring water—from areas on the West Coast, in the Midwest, Southeast and on the East Coast, with full disclosure details on the company's web site—is packaged inside a bottle made entirely of plant-based products (specifically, dextrose from corn grown by Midwestern farmers). As a result, the bottle is compostable and biodegradable, a win-win for you and the earth.

  • Biota
  • Spring water is sourced from a natural alpine spring in Colorado before it's packaged into a plastic-resin Biota bottle derived from corn. If you can't find a recycling bin to toss the used bottled in, no worries: Biota composts easily within the trash. Celebs like Jewel, Jack Johnson, Willie Nelson, and Ed Begley Jr. have given their endorsement to this water product that's been sold since 2006 and now available across the country.

    Tell us what you think about bottled water in the comments.