Rethinking Bottled Water
It's not often that I read or hear something that almost immediately compels me to change something I've done for a long time. But that's what happened when I heard a report about the bottled water industry in America on All Things Considered on Thursday.
Robert Siegel interviewed Charles Fishman, a reporter for the magazine Fast Company, who says that Pepsi's Aquafina and Coke's Dasani are basically purified tap water. That's something I didn't know. No magical springs bubbling out of a picturesque hillside in some rural American forest, visited by locals for years. Just plain old tap water.
The companies say they put the tap water through an "energy-intensive reverse-osmosis filtration process," but, to me, that seems like basically the same stuff we get by running our tap water through a Brita filter.
Fishman wrote in his article for Fast Company:
A chilled plastic bottle of water in the convenience-store cooler is the perfect symbol of this moment in American commerce and culture. It acknowledges our demand for instant gratification, our vanity, our token concern for health. Its packaging and transport depend entirely on cheap fossil fuel. Yes, it's just a bottle of water--modest compared with the indulgence of driving a Hummer. But when a whole industry grows up around supplying us with something we don't need--when a whole industry is built on the packaging and the presentation--it's worth asking how that happened, and what the impact is.
Not to mention what all those empty plastic bottles that are tossed aside are doing to the environment.
I seriously may never buy a bottle of water again. It just doesn't make sense. It's back to the tap for me, with a reusable plastic bottle. How about you folks? What's your thinking now about bottled water?
11:11 AM ET | 06-29-2007 | permalink