Concord, Massachusetts has just joined about a hundred other cities in the county banning the sale of bottled water. Backlash against bottled water has been growing, but nowhere near as fast as the sale of the product itself.
We’ve been led to believe that water in plastic bottles is somehow better than what comes out of our tap. We’re being sold filtration devices to hook up to our tap to “clean” the water that comes out of it. We’re being sent subtle messages that what comes out of our tap is unhealthy, even dangerous.
Of course, for those who live in Madison or get their water from the Madison water utility, a little manganese is an added bonus…and, for those who live on the near east side, a few carcinogens from an old chemical dump are thrown into the mix once in a while. Mmmmmmm…. tap water.
The problems of the Madison water utility aside (and most of them have been solved or are being addressed), bottled water is ubiquitous. Hundreds of millions of people spend sometimes exorbitant amounts of money to buy and drink water out of plastic bottles.
And that’s why Concord has joined the anti-bottled-water parade.
Every second of every day in the U.S., a thousand people buy a plastic bottle of water. Every year, 17 million barrels of oil are used to produce plastic drinking bottles, and you need look no farther than your nearest recycling facility to see how many empty plastic water bottles have piled up. Giant companies like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and Nestle have changed the way we consume water.
With the wide latitude given to advertising, we’re led to believe the water in those plastic bottles with the attractive labels comes from a spring or glacial melt or some other romantic source. Most of it is just plan tap water, filtered a bit, and put into an attractive and convenient package.
One estimate is that 40% of bottled water comes directly from some municipal water system. An industry executive told author Peter Gleick “when we’re done, tap water will be relegated to showers and washing dishes”.
Anybody as old as I am remembers Perrier – the fizzy water sold in green glass bottles. It was once the Cadillac of bottled water. The imitators soon followed, and when marketing execs realized we’d spend big money to buy water, the race for our wallet was on. Now, Perrier is marketed as a “lifestyle” item.
My wife and I briefly fell into the trap. We’d buy a case of “cheap” bottled water at the grocery store every week, and toss a few bottles into the ‘frig every day. Soon, we began doing what the bottles tell us NEVER to do…refilling them (with good old tap water); and now, we have a handful of polycarbonate bottles that get filled and refilled from the tap, and thoroughly cleaned once a week.
My wife drags a 1000ml bottle out of the ‘frig and hauls it to work every morning; I toss a package of generic flavoring of one sort or another into my bottles, and pour the stuff over tap-water ice made in our ‘frig.
The money we save is spent on recyclable glass bottles filled with fermented malt beverage. PS: Capital Brewery’s new “Supper Club” beer tastes kinda like the old Blatz beer. Worth a try.