Water test – an overview of the 25 most important test categories

Maybe you suspect a contamination, maybe you’re not sure whether your baby is allowed to drink tap water, or maybe you just want to check your home well. There are many reasons for a water test. Mostly, health aspects are in the foreground. This is why you will find the most important parameters for water health at a glance here. If a substance is harmless to health, that does not mean that it cannot cause other problems. For example, a high iron content discolors the water. For many substances, of course, the statement “the amount makes the poison” also applies, specific health concerns should be clarified with a doctor in any case.

1. Aluminum

Humans consume around 5 milligrams of aluminum every day. The light metal is harmless in small quantities; in higher doses it can cause health problems. Research suggests that aluminum is responsible for neuronal damage or Alzheimer’s disease.


2. ammonium

Ammonium in the water is a sign of uncleaned wastewater. The substance is formed when protein or urea react with bacteria. Ammonium can damage kidneys and forms the nerve toxin ammonia at a high pH value.


3. lead

In old houses, cables are often still made of lead. If this dissolves in the water, it can lead to serious health problems. Lead is especially dangerous for children, it leads to developmental disorders, high blood pressure and stomach pain. The only remedy is usually new water pipes.


4. Calcium

Calcium is an important element for the human body, it builds bones and teeth. In the water it ensures good taste but also unpleasant lime stains in the household. For health reasons, there is no benefit in removing calcium from drinking water  to remove.


5. chloride

Chlorides are salts. They can either get into drinking water through sewage or through contact with salty rocks. People should consume around two to five grams of chloride a day, an overdose can result in high blood pressure.


6. Chromium

Water does not react with chromium. However, chromium compounds can get into drinking water from industrial wastewater. Depending on the exact chemical composition, chromium can on the one hand be an important trace element, on the other hand it can be highly toxic.


7. fluoride

Fluoride is found in most toothpastes and is healthy for your teeth. As a rule, it should only occur in small quantities in drinking water. A toxic effect of fluoride is well known, how serious this is, but is controversial: In some countries drinking water is even fortified with fluoride.


8. E. coli

Probably the best known germs that can occur in our water: E. coli bacteria. Infection with the intestinal pathogens usually manifests itself as nausea, vomiting or fever. E.coli bacteria enter drinking water through faecal contamination and can damage the intestines, bloodstream and kidneys.


9. Iron

Iron is very important in the human body: it binds oxygen in the blood and transports it from the lungs to other organs. An iron deficiency can be responsible for symptoms such as tiredness or headaches. Iron has no negative consequences in healthy people and is rarely overdosed.

10. Enterococci

Like E. coli bacteria, enterococci are a sign of fecal contamination. They spread particularly well when water stands for a long time. Enterococci can cause urinary tract infections or peritonitis in humans.


11. Potassium

Humans consume around one to six grams of potassium every day. This is mainly deposited in muscles, red blood cells and in the brain. Potassium protects the heart and blood vessels. It is an essential element, especially for nerve functions. Potassium dissolved in water is not dangerous.


12. Copper

Copper usually comes into our drinking water from copper pipes. The element is essential for humans, but overdose may cause poisoning. This can quickly lead to gastrointestinal diseases, especially in children, as their metabolism is not yet working so well.


13. Legionella

Legionella are bacteria. They multiply especially in long standing or warm water. Drinking legionella is harmless, but they become problematic when showering. If the bacteria are inhaled via water vapor, they enter the lungs and can cause severe pneumonia.


14. Lithium

The light metal lithium is seen as a mood-enhancer: a study found that the suicide rate is lower in regions with a high lithium content in drinking water. The element is not essential for the body. It is not a problem when dissolved in water, the majority is immediately excreted by the body.


15. Magnesium

Magnesium is especially important for bones and muscles. Similar to calcium, it is also responsible for the transmission of stimuli, muscle function and the formation of proteins and DNA. Magnesium has no harmful effects on human health. However, a deficiency can lead to sluggishness and fatigue.


16. Manganese

Manganese is also essential for humans. The body needs it primarily for enzymes; it is stored in the liver, kidneys and other organs. Both deficiency symptoms and overdoses are extremely rare. However, water with a high manganese content should not be used for baby food.


17. Sodium

Sodium is essential for nerve function in the body. It is not dangerous in water, it is usually overdosed in the form of table salt. On average, we ingest thirty times the amount we need through our food every day. The consequences of this can be increased blood pressure, hardening of the arteries or a tendency towards inflammation.


18. nitrate

Nitrates are nitrogen salts and find their way into our drinking water through fertilizers. Nitrogen is essential for humans as well as for animals and plants because it drives protein production. In adults, an overdose is very unlikely; in babies, even small amounts can lead to dangerous blue rash.


19. Nickel

Nickel can get into drinking water via chrome-plated fittings, and it also occurs naturally in small quantities. Harmful health consequences are rare. However, some people are allergic to nickel, and in the worst case scenario, dermatitis can develop.


20. Phosphorus

The mineral phosphorus is essential for the body; we usually take it in in the form of phosphates. These are salts that are found in foods such as milk or meat. Symptoms of deficiency are not known, an overdose is harmless. In children, however, this can cause hyperactivity.


21. pH

The pH value of a liquid indicates whether it is an alkali or an acid. Drinking water has a pH of around 7.0 and is therefore neutral. Water with a value below 7.0 is acidic; values above that are found in basic liquids. Acidic water can be problematic in house installations: as it is more “aggressive”, it dissolves heavy metals more easily from pipes and fittings.


22. Sulphate

Sulphate is often referred to as a “digestive aid” because it promotes the flow of bile and thus digestion. Deficiency can lead to brittle nails, skin problems and indigestion. However, too much sulphate in the water is bad for pipes, as it wears them out and in the worst case, the pipe can even burst.


23. Uranium

Radioactive and highly toxic: Uranium rightly does not have a good reputation. The heavy metal causes lasting damage to blood, bones and kidneys. It is particularly dangerous for babies and toddlers, as their bodies are particularly difficult to deal with. Uranium enters the water either through rocks containing uranium or fertilizers.


24. Water hardness

The total water hardness is made up of the two hardness components calcium and magnesium. Hard water  is therefore healthy for the body and it also tastes good. Hard water is a problem in house installations. There it leads to stubborn limescale deposits and unsightly stains.


25. zinc

Zinc is an important trace element for the human body. It is needed for enzymes, DNA and the hormone insulin. Since the body can only absorb part of the zinc in food, zinc-containing water is considered very healthy. Overdosing is rare. It manifests itself in nausea, dizziness, fever and diarrhea.

What does the degree of water hardness say?

That water is “hard”  can be is a known fact. Calcium and magnesium come naturally into our drinking water and form the often unpopular lime there. But not all water is equally calcareous. The degree of hardness varies from region to region, sometimes even from house to house – for example, if you have a house well and your neighbor gets his drinking water from the community. Anyone who knows his degree of hardness benefits. This is the only way to identify the need for action and save costs on detergents and household appliances.


Testing water hardness – How to determine your water hardness

Various online tests offer an initial guide to the hardness of the water in your region. However, the data are partly based on projections. If you’d like to check the numbers for yourself, just call your water company or do a quick test using test strips. Only a comprehensive water test provides exact results. This is also especially recommended if you have a domestic well. This not only provides you with information on the water hardness level, but also on many other quality criteria.


What does “German hardship” mean?

The hardness of the water  is usually given in ° dH. That stands for “degree of German hardship”. To this day, the German hardness is the common unit for measuring the degree of water hardness in Central Europe. One degree of German hardness corresponds to 10 milligrams of lime per liter of water. For example, if your evaluation is 10 ° dH, there are 0.1 grams of lime dissolved in one liter. That’s roughly the weight of four to five grains of rice. Internationally, the degree of hardness is usually measured in millimoles per liter or in parts per million.


Hard or soft? Subdivision of the water hardness levels

When water is considered to be soft and when to be hard is even anchored in a law in Austria, the detergent law of 1984.  In Germany, the detergent and cleaning agent law also stipulates the degree of hardness.

Establishing a chemical scale in the detergent law might seem a bit banal at first glance. The degree of water hardness has a very direct effect on washing. Because hard water requires more detergents than soft water. Perhaps you have already noticed a difference in hand washing in another region. You have to rinse off the same amount of soap with soft water for a longer time until your hands no longer feel “slippery”.

In some scales, the area above 21 degrees German hardness is also referred to as very hard. Few municipalities in Austria have such hard water. In Tulln or Wiener Neustadt, for example, the hardness of up to 25 degrees German hardness is specified by the water supplier. At the other end of the spectrum, by the way, there is rainwater that has a hardness of almost zero in Germany.

Your plants like this particularly soft water, but you should not pump it into your water pipes. Soft water has a low pH value and is therefore acidic. This can attack pipes and in the worst case even trigger heavy metals that get into your tap water. That is why in the grocery book  the Ministry of Health required a minimum hardness of 8.4 degrees of German hardness. Softer water is deacidified before it is distributed via the pipe network so that it cannot cause any damage to domestic installations.


Which degree of water hardness is good?

Both hard and soft water have their advantages and disadvantages. Which degree of water hardness is good for you depends on various factors. Soft water is gentler on the skin and on household appliances, but if it is too soft it can damage pipes and pipes. You should therefore never set water softeners below the required minimum hardness of 8.4 ° dH. If your water hardness is at or above this value, you will likely be happy with your water.

Hard tap water tastes better than soft. The minerals it contains give the water its good taste. Apart from that, hard water has numerous disadvantages. Frequent cleaning and descaling are the order of the day when the water hardness is high, devices also break faster and cost a lot of money for repairs and maintenance. You will also need more detergent when doing laundry and cleaning. Hard water can quickly become a problem for sensitive skin or unruly hair. Many people are bothered by the “lime taste” in coffee or tea; the aromas can develop better with soft water.


Action required from 18 ° dH

Water that is too soft is treated, but not too hard. It is pumped into the pipes and distributed to households as normal. Hard water in itself is not bad, on the contrary: it contains the two important minerals calcium and magnesium in increased doses. However, a balanced diet cannot replace hard water – you can’t drink that much water. The human body does need these minerals for, though  coffee machine  & Co they become torture. The consequences: stubborn limescale deposits and constant cleaning. If you live in a region with hard water, you surely know these problems.

There is a need for action from 18 degrees of German hardship. The Austrian Standards Institute recommends softening devices above this value  to be used (see ÖNORM m6245). This applies to around 20 percent of Austrian households. There are different ways of softening. Depending on what you want to achieve with the softening, a water softener  make sense even with less hard water.

Drinking while exercising: sweat properly, drink properly

During muscle work, chemical energy is converted into mechanical energy and heat. The efficiency is only 25%, which means the remaining energy is “lost” as heat:  We’re getting hot. During intense physical activity, the body is forced to release the generated heat to the outside through sweat in order to avoid overheating of the organism, which is harmful to health. Otherwise the core body temperature would be increased too much.

So whoever does sport sweats. Sweating does not have to be a sign of a bad training condition, on the contrary –  those who are well trained can sweat well. Sweating is necessary for the organism’s heat regulation so that the core body temperature does not rise to a dangerous level, which could lead to heat stroke. The importance of the most effective heat dissipation possible through adequate sweating during prolonged physical exertion is illustrated by the example of running a marathon. Top athletes complete it with a body temperature of up to 40 degrees Celsius!

How much we sweat depends on a number of factors. With intensive work, high ambient temperature and humidity, the loss of sweat increases. Anyone who sweats a lot and constantly loses a not inconsiderable amount Body water .  This is at the expense of the fluid in the body cells, the intercellular space and ultimately also the blood plasma, i.e. the part of the blood that consists of water. The result is a decrease in blood flow, which means that the body is poorly supplied with oxygen and “waste products” can be removed less easily.


Health risks when sweating

For athletes who train in warm climates, greater fluid loss can cause significant health problems, primarily from overheating the body to heat breakdown and heat stroke. Sweat rates that  2 liters per hour  exceed are not uncommon. The consequences are only fatal in a few cases, only a water loss of 10% of the body weight leads to serious symptoms, a dehydration of 15% is usually fatal. But even relatively small sweat losses reduce performance.

Scientific research has shown that a  Water loss of already 2% of the body weight significantly affects performance. For most people, this corresponds to less than two liters of sweat loss. Especially in sports where fractions of a second decide between victory and defeat, such a disadvantageous effect not only affects the end result, but also the subjective degree of fatigue felt.


Drinking properly is crucial

The hydration  plays a big role in sport. If you sweat a lot, you not only lose water, but also sodium. The loss of minerals must also be compensated for. A water with a high sodium content is ideal for this. If you choose mineral water, it should be carbonated-free or low-carbon. This irritates the stomach less and prevents hiccups.

Various sports drinks are available at the market. Electrolyte and isotonic drinks must have a certain composition. The contained minerals can be quickly absorbed by the body and quickly replace water and energy losses. Such drinks are aimed primarily at high-performance athletes. In popular sports, the same results can usually be achieved with diluted fruit juices. In any case, you should keep your hands off soft drinks and beverages containing caffeine – these can downright dehydrate the body.

How water hardness arises and affects it

Many feel that the water is hard  as annoying. Limescale causes a number of problems in the household, such as constant cleaning, descaling or even broken appliances. But why is our drinking water hard? To understand this, let’s take a detour into nature.


Hard water – the answer lies in the water cycle

In nature, water is an excellent solvent and means of transport. That is also the reason why lime is even in our drinking water  comes. When it rains and water seeps into the ground, it comes into contact with calcareous rock and is enriched with it – the groundwater becomes hard. How calcareous the drinking water is varies from region to region. On the one hand, this is of course related to the composition of the soil; on the other hand, the same amount of groundwater is not used everywhere for drinking water supply.

If you want to remove the lime from the water, you usually use a water softener in your household.  In nature, the water cycle does this by itself. When water evaporates, the limescale remains – you are probably familiar with this from limescale stains on kitchen fittings and shower walls. The water rises in clouds in a natural cycle, the lime remains on the earth. Evaporation in nature purifies water in the best possible way.


Calcium, magnesium and the chemistry behind them

The lime in water is composed of various minerals, calcium and magnesium are the two most important of them. They are also called hardeners. The exact chemical name for the hardness in water is calcium hydrogen carbonate. And that happens when carbon dioxide reacts with lime in the water. To put it simply: the natural carbonic acid in the water dissolves the lime from the limestone. And that stays in the drinking water in the form of calcium hydrogen carbonate.

Each of us consumed  around 135 liters of water every day, of which we only drink one to two liters on average. Calcium and magnesium dissolved in drinking water are healthy for humans. Almost 99% of the water we use does not flow through our bodies, but through our household appliances. And for kettles, coffee machines  or boiler, lime is anything but healthy. When the water is hard, heating rods and heating coils become calcified. Lines and pipes clog and only let water through slowly. Energy consumption also increases. A layer of limescale just one millimeter thick – for example on the bottom of your kettle – requires ten percent more energy. More soap or detergent is used when washing. Lime binds cleaning agents and thus increases your household expenses.


Why does the lime deposit?

Problems with limescale usually arise where water is heated. Because from 60 ° C the lime precipitates and is deposited on boilers or pipes. Responsible for this is the so-called carbonate hardness – calcium and magnesium dissolved in the water. The counterpart to this is the non-carbonate hardness. This consists of the other minerals dissolved in the water and does not change when heated. Both together result in the total hardness, which you can determine yourself with the help of simple means.

If you know your total hardness, you don’t know the carbonate hardness. With a water hardness of 20 ° dH and an annual consumption of 150 cubic meters of water, more than 50 kilograms of lime are pumped through the household every year. How much of it is carbonate hardness and is deposited cannot be said in general terms. A few kilos of lime are left behind in pipes and devices due to heating. The same degree of hardness therefore does not necessarily result in the same limescale deposits. Effects on the skin  or the detergent consumption remains the same with the same hardness.


Why do we say water hardness

By the way, it is not exactly clear why the term “hardness” is used for this. From some quarters one hears the theory that the term comes from the field of laundry. Hard water makes the laundry hard after drying. The expression could also have originated from cooking. Deposits that arise when heated are simply “hard”. Either way: The terms “hard” and “soft” have become common over the centuries.


Water: for the sake of our body and wellbeing

After a holiday in a foreign country, have you ever been really happy to be able to drink the tap water without worrying again? In international comparison, the water quality is  top in Central Europe. Our body is dependent on a sufficient supply of water every day, and body care is not possible without the cool water. How our drinking water  health effects, read here.


Without water there’s no life

You have probably heard at one time or another that water is the main component in all living things. In small children, the water content is over 70%, with increasing age we literally dry out until we are only about 45% water in old age.

Water is indispensable for many vital processes in the human body. Those who drink too little can find it difficult to concentrate, suffer from headaches or dizziness. In the long run, it can even lead to serious illness. So drinking enough is important to stay healthy.


Exercising, sweating, drinking – what you should pay attention to

Anyone who does sport sweats. This prevents the body from dangerous overheating. The main problem is the loss of fluids, but also the excretion of vital minerals. Drinking properly while exercising is therefore essential to keep fit. And in many sports it can even make the difference between victory and defeat, because with a loss of fluids, the ability to concentrate also decreases.


Water for the Youngest: Tips on Baby Food

Is the tap water right for my baby? A question that many parents ask themselves. The answer is basically yes, a water test is a precaution  but not bad. As a precaution, many parents boil off the tap water to determine whether this is really necessary, but opinions differ about this. The lime in the water can be problematic for some children. However, this cannot be completely removed by boiling.

Water as a drink is not necessary during breastfeeding or the first time in a bottle. But if you start offering the baby water as a drink, you should pay close attention to some of the ingredients.


This is what calcareous water does to our skin

Limescale in the water is one of the most common problems that occur with our tap water. While the problems in kettles etc. are very visible, we are often less aware of what the limescale does to our skin. Limescale reduces the washing performance of soap and shower gel, residues of minerals are deposited on the skin. Not all people notice the difference between soft and hard water. In the case of sensitive skin, however, the lime can cause a wide variety of irritations. If you’ve already started to feel improvements after a vacation in a place with soft water, you might want to have your water checked.


How hard and soft water affect hair care

Frizzy mane or straight and without volume? We often struggle with our hair in daily care. We mostly forget one essential factor – the water used. If it is very calcareous, minerals can get stuck in the hair, if it is very soft, there may be product residues. The composition of the water affects several levels – the appearance of the hair, how easy it is to style and which care products are required. On the blog we give tips on how to get the best possible grip on your hair.

Descaling the kettle: 5 tried and tested home remedies

White flakes on tea: Anyone who knows this has already experienced lime in its most stubborn form. When heated, the lime dissolves from the water, it is either deposited on the walls of the vessel or forms flakes. Thus, kettles are very susceptible to deposits. Another problem is that the lime increases energy consumption. A layer of lime just one millimeter on the bottom of the kettle increases power consumption by a proud ten percent.

Chemical descaler are usually expensive. A pack of descaling tablets often costs about half as much as a new kettle. However, these chemical descaling agents are not absolutely necessary. Since lime is basic, it basically just needs an acid to say goodbye to it. We have the most popular home remedies  on the subject of descaling the kettle and explain what to look out for when using it.

Which home remedy works best, you will probably have to find out for yourself. Water is very different from region to region, and the material of the kettle also plays a role. Less aggressive home remedies are suitable for light soiling. However, our instructions are not set in stone. For more stubborn stains, you can leave vinegar or baking powder mixtures to act overnight. Cleaning will be easier if you do it regularly. It is also possible that the deposits come off, but remain in the kettle when the cleaning solution is poured away. Then simply wipe away the lime with a cloth or scrub with a kitchen sponge.


Testing the most important questions about water

Water is more than H20. Essential minerals are in our drinking water  solved and make it our most important food. The concentration of substances such as calcium, magnesium, sodium or potassium is constantly monitored and says a lot about the quality of the water. The respective water suppliers are responsible for controls.  But no matter how conscientiously they go about their work and only circulate perfect water, they cannot guarantee that the water will flow out of the tap in the best quality.


Why should I test my water?

Ultimately, the consumers themselves are responsible for the water quality at home. Substances such as lead, iron, copper, nickel or zinc can get into the water through house pipes and fittings. If water stands for a long time, the risk of germs increases. That sounds worrying, and rightly so. This can quickly lead to problems, especially in babies, children, pregnant women or people with a weakened immune system.

Impurities do not necessarily have to be noticed. Drinking water can look, smell and taste normal and still be heavily contaminated. If the water changes color, smells bad or no longer tastes good, there is of course an urgent need for action. In both cases, however, the problem must first be identified. A water test shows whether water is as safe as it looks or where the cause of contamination is.


What options are there to test drinking water?

If you want to test your water, you have various options. You can carry out a rough assessment yourself, and send your water to the laboratory for a comprehensive scientific analysis.

Test it yourself

The name says it all: you can carry out self-tests yourself at home. In pharmacies and drugstores, for example, there are test strips for measuring the total hardness or the pH value. Test sets for substances such as lead, nitrate, nitrite or pesticides are available online. However, the accuracy of these tests is debatable. Bacteria in the water can also be determined with the help of self-tests, but the result only shows whether bacteria are present and not in what number.

Experts see this only as a quick estimate. A laboratory analysis cannot replace self-tests.

Have it tested

Laboratory tests deliver the highest possible accuracy. As a rule, this is done by pouring water into a sample bottle and sending it to the laboratory. Both chemical guide values and physical parameters are tested, and precise statements can be made about the presence of bacteria and the number of germs. The evaluation comes after a few days by post or email. In addition to the exact values, many institutes also provide a consumer-friendly interpretation of the results.

Special case water hardness test

You have probably struggled with limescale deposits in the household. The decisive factor here is the hardness of the water. To be able to take targeted action against limescale, you should know the hardness of your water.


How do I find the right water test?

Not all water tests are the same. Different tests cover different parameters. First, get an overview of the most important key figures. Laboratory tests are usually already put together in such a way that they are suitable for a specific problem situation. If you have any suspicions about what might be wrong with your water, this is probably the best way to get out.

Well-known test institutes usually offer a basic test in the first place. This includes the most important test categories and is suitable for most situations. If babies or small children live in the household, a baby water test makes sense. This takes into account the needs of your children. You can also determine the occurrence of bacteria with your own test. Own well tests are usually offered for home well owners. In this way, the quality of the well water is examined in detail.


What measures do I take to react to my result?

Correct interpretation is at least as important as careful analysis. Water hardness is a major problem in many Austrian households. With a water softener, you save yourself the hassle of descaling and cleaning. Lime in the water is responsible for good taste – that’s why there are already processes that do not change the taste.

Heavy metals are often due to the materials used in the home. Old leads made of lead or copper should be replaced urgently. If the unwanted substances do not come from the pipes, filter systems help. There are different procedures depending on your needs. Other unwanted substances such as salts are also removed from the water, but healthy minerals are often lost at the same time. In the event of a bacterial infestation, the water must be sterilized; in such cases, it is often advisable to boil the water. Of course, this only helps in the short term. If it is not a one-off infestation, you should thoroughly flush and disinfect the entire system.

Lifestyle for drinking

It has long been a core business for the large beverage multinationals. Bottled water has become the best-selling drink in the world – that’s a disaster from an ecological point of view. The sales of bottled water have been growing annually by six percent worldwide since 2008, writes the Financial Times. The big corporations Danone, Nestle, Coca-Cola and Pepsi are fighting for shares in the market. Your most lucrative business is no longer soft drinks, but plain and simple ordinary water.

Consumption doubled

Especially in Asia, China and India – where the governments do not always manage to permanently supply the fast growing cities with clean drinking water – the market is growing enormously. China’s consumption of bottled water has doubled in five years, from 17 billion to 33 billion liters per year.

But even in the western world, water is increasingly being bought in the supermarket. “The growth rates here are similar to those in the emerging countries,” said Marco Settembri, managing director of “Nestle Wasser” recently to the “Financial Times”. In particular, concerns about health and obesity are increasing the demand for bottled water. The Austrian Association of the Food and Beverage Industry announced that the average Austrian carried around 90 liters of bottled water home in 2014 – in 1970 there were six. The domestic beverage companies filled around 750 million liters of water in bottles last year.


Amazing marketing ploy

In Europe and the USA, water has become a popular lifestyle product in recent years. The advertising industry has achieved amazing things. She markets a product that everyone already has at home and makes incredible profits with it. Pure springs, snow-capped mountain peaks or crystal clear lakes beckon on the labels of the bottles. They should suggest purity, vitality and a healthy lifestyle. Successful businesswomen sip bottled water in the television commercial. Instead of the tap, people are increasingly reaching for the bottle.
The quality of standard mineral or table water in many countries is by no means better than that of tap water. On the contrary – tap water is subject to a large number of tests; it is the most thoroughly checked food  of the world. Many mineral water from the supermarket contain fewer minerals and also have a problem with germs, as the Stiftung Warentest announced in a study.

And in terms of price, bottled water cannot compete with tap water either. In Austria, for example, a liter of mineral water costs an average of 50 cents, for which, according to the water report of the Chamber of Labor (AK), you could get around 400 liters of tap water – without having to lug it home by crates. Apart from quality and price, the ecological component plays a role that should not be underestimated. Only 20 percent of the plastic bottles used are recycled. The rest of it accumulates in vast mountains of rubbish, huge plastic islands in our oceans are life-threatening for numerous animals.