Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The bottled water dilemma

Over the last few years, bottled drinking water has become extremely common. We buy it at gas stations, out of soda vending machines and even drink it at home. I used to keep a case of it in my car so I would always be prepared if I got thirsty. Then last year, after reading an article about bottled water, I abruptly quit. I just couldn't do it anymore.

An important side note: if you drink bottled water for any reason, I don't mind. I'm not going to tell you that you should stop. But if you ask me why I gave it up... I'm going to tell you. And quite honestly, you probably didn't ask, so feel free to overlook reading my post today. If you decide to keep reading, and you are doing so over your afternoon Evian or San Pellegrino, please know that I respect your choice to do that.

Here's a few of the statistics from the article that just got me thinking:
* In the U.S. alone, it takes over 37,000 18-wheelers to deliver the 1 billion bottles per week that consumers demand.
* More than half of the people who live in Fiji do not have safe drinking water, but the Fiji Water bottling factory fills one million bottles per day of today's hippest luxury water brand to ship around the world.
* While bottled water is no doubt a healthier choice than soda, beer or coffee, it really isn't any healthier than tap water. Throughout the U.S., municipal water must meet EPA standards and is regularly tested. Yes, I saw Erin Brockovich, and the article points out that there are a few rare exceptions to safe drinking water in the U.S. It also points out that roughly a quarter of all bottled water sold in the U.S. is actually... bottled tap water.
* Americans spend $15 billion per year on bottled water and send 38 billion plastic bottles into landfills. Only a fraction of plastic bottles are recycled.

So, that's why I gave up bottled water. When faced with the facts, I decided it was a luxury I could afford to do without.

Fishman, Charles, "Message in a Bottle." Fast Company, Issue 117 (July/August 2007), Page 110.
Click here to read the full article.


  1. compelling...it truly is. Did I, in some way, inspire this post?

    I had SUCH a great weekend!!!!!! Super fun to see you and the family. Thanks for making it work :-)

  2. Sara, yes, it was that conversation over your dinner table... I found that when I tried to articulate the reasons "why" - they had gotten a little fuzzy. So this was a reminder to me as well.

  3. Those were VERY compelling reasons. I know the only reason we buy bottled water is because it's a nice size that fits in Kevin's lunch box (kinda stupid, huh?) Maybe we should switch. I just drink water from the tap though. Thanks for the info!

  4. Good for you Rebo! Although for me it's basically the cost factor - I just can't stomach paying so much for something that I could always get for basically free. Well, that and I can't tell the difference in taste anyway! Just don't find out any bad facts about my Brita and we'll be okay! (:

  5. Do I what do... keep a few bottles of water in the freezer. Grab one in the morning. Let it melt as you drink it. Then refill it at night and put it back in the freezer.

  6. I have also heard that kids are getting more cavities because they're not drinking the floride (spelling?) that's common in most tap water and absent from bottled water.

  7. Funny...we just had a conversation with some friends about Fiji water. Did you know that the Fiji electrical grid can't support the bottling plant, so they keep diesel generators running 24/7? Talk about damaging a pristine ecosystem! We've quit the bottled water habit, too, and are glad to hear we're in good company. :-)