Bottled water, that is.
Here’s some eye-opening information about just how damaging bottled water, when used as a fashion or lifestyle statement, really is.
This entry was posted on Monday, December 14th, 2009 at 9:43 am and is filed under environment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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These are the same old tired specious points that everyone already knew.
First, many, if not most people, who drink bottled water, are drinking it in lieu of Coca-Cola or other less healthy drinks. Look in the beverage aisle at your supermarket. For every bottle of water, there are three or more of soda, non-carbonated soft drinks and energy drinks. Why pick on bottled water drinkers?
Second, for the expensive 1 litre and smaller containers, people are not really buying water as much as they are buying bottles. The big jugs are often a dollar or less. Some places even let you refill old bottles. Anything, from motor oil to milk to water, costs more if you want or need to have it in a small container.
Third, many cities (New Haven, CT; Rockford, IL) have large areas with chemically healthy, but really nasty tasting water.
Fourth, individual houses may have old pipes with lead or lead solder, that undo all the cleaning done by the filtration plant. Mayor Bloomberg of NYC tells such folks to let the water run FOR TWO MINUTES to get the lead out. Are you going to make baby formula with that?! I won’t.
Fifth, some people DON’T WANT flouride in their water. They might have a sensitivity in the house, they may have a solid chemical understanding of the science, or they may be Froot Loops wearing hats made out of Hershey Kiss wrappers. It doesn’t matter. Something besides water is coming into their house, and they just want water.
Fifth, more than 15% of houses are on well/septic systems. There are any number of short-term and long-term reasons for desiring bottled water.
Sixth, when we go on a long car trip (1,000 miles), we want sealed, germ free water along for the ride for refreshment, hydration and emergencies. It is not hard to get a case for $4. It is not worth my while to dig up 24 bottles and fill them from my tap, or get one for each member of the family, and trust the rest room taps at a North Dakota gas station.
There are more, but you get the idea.
The article was most spurious, comparing the cheapest tap water to the most expensive bottled water. It should have compared average prices at worst.
Michael, thanks for the comment. I’m not suggesting that no-one should buy or use bottled water. But it seems to me that carrying around a bottle of water has become today’s fashion statement, akin, if you will, to carrying around a little yappy dog, a la Paris Hilton.
I’ll address your points as you brought them up:
First: Your point about soda is good, but we’re not talking about soda. I’m sure there are many good arguments against bottled soda, but the topic at hand is bottled water.
Second: yup. So what?
Third: People can (and do!) use water filters on sinks if the water tastes nasty, can use re-fillable bottles, etc.
Fourth and fifth combined: people with nasty-tasting water or fluoridated water probably don’t buy their water in the little bottles for their household needs. More likely, they have the big bottle dispensers in their homes for drinking and cooking.
Sixth: again, yup. That’s a good example of when using bottled water is a good, smart idea. But if you’re a regular long-trip-taker, why not have some bottles you keep just for that purpose?
Finally, I’m not advocating a bottled water ban. I just found the statistics on the charts interesting and informative, and given the fact that bottled water seems to be nearly ubiquitous, whether actually imbibed or not (especially among city-dwellers), thought I’d point and laugh. That’s all.
Plus, thank you for the wonderful mental picture you’ve left me with your “they may be Froot Loops wearing hats made out of Hershey Kiss wrappers”. What a great way to start out the week!
My favorite ‘bottled water’ feature is the enjoyment that I get watching ‘watermelons’ who won’t drink anything else pull into the generic ‘Handi-Mart’, fill up with $3/gallon gas (of which at least $0.50 is DIRECT tax–never mind the indirect taxes), go into the store, and come back with a bottle of $8/gallon (and up) water. And then start complaining to everyone in sight about how the–you ready now?–OIL COMPANIES are ripping them off.
As the article pointed out, the water (mostly) is obtained by filtering and bottling municipal water and delivering it to retail outlets. That or building a bottling plant near a spring and bottling–at a premium price–the water that flows out of the ground under its own power.
I won’t go through the steps that the oil company had to go through to get the (very) crude oil from several thousand feet under the ocean or a thugocracy a few thousand miles away, turn it into gasoline that is compatible with a modern internal combustion engine while meeting innumerable government environmental specs, and arrange to make it available to the ‘watermelon’ at the Handi-Mart; it is an interesting exercise, much to be recommended.
I leave it to the reader to decide which product represents a ‘rip off’.
In support of Stoutcat’s premise, I’d like to point to an incident that took place in Massachusetts in the early 1980s.
The W.R. Grace & Co., Inc., operated a plant that covered nearly 500 acres in Acton, Massachusetts. Until the early 1980s, the plant manufactured various specialty chemicals and other products for industrial use. Starting in l973, residents in Acton filed complaints about odors and irritants in the air around the plant. Tests proved the water to contain contaminants used by the Grace company. It was determined that Grace had been “dumping” chemical waste which, over the years, contaminated the ground water and the source of the town’s drinking water.
Grace was ordered to pay for the cleanup. During the time of the cleanup, residents had no choice but to drink bottled water.
Though the relationship was contentious, eventually the water supply quality was restored to normal. But an interesting thing happened: People were suspect of going back to ‘town water’ so a test was done comparing the town water with the bottled water residents had been relying on. The town water was actually discovered to have FEWER contaminants than the bottled water!
There will probably always be a market for bottled water, but I think what Stoutcat is saying (and I would have to agree) is that it’s time for the trendiness to wear off. Don’t let it become a fashion statement.
And don’t think that just because it has a fancy name, that makes it worth the extra money. Remember “Evian” spelled backwards in Naive.
[…] Don’t Drink the Water Bottled water, that is. Here’s some eye-opening information about just how damaging bottled water, when […] […]
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