Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Water--Blue Gold

"Ever wonder about those people who spend $2 apiece on those little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backward." 
(George Carlin)

Several years ago I watched one of those news shows like 20/20 in which they did a blind survey of bottled water.  They presented to the public the hypothesis that they were trying to determine which brand of bottled water was the best.  What they were actually attempting to do was to see which was more popular--bottled water or tap water.  Through a blind taste test it was surprising that the majority of people picked the tap water as the best--better than all of those expensive and fancy bottled waters.  The latest edition (August 2011) of Readers Digest reconfirms this fact in it article "Big Gulp".

I have never understood bottled water--especially here in the United States where we have the safest water in the world to drink.  Yet we Americans spend a lot of money on bottled water--a person in the United States drinks an average of 30 gallons of the stuff a year.  During the 1970s  a person might have drank a gallon a year.  Bottled water is one of the biggest advertising scams of all time--that is the only way that I can explain people spending hard earned money for something they can get out of their own taps in their homes for free.

The bottlers of water would have the consumer believe that if their product--water--is consumed that a person will be skinnier, sexier, and healthier.  I have been drinking water my whole life--lots of it--and I do not feel any skinnier, sexier, or healthier.  That is a toss of the old genetic dice, not the water I drink, and my dice rolled crap.  Mostly water has made me want to go to the bathroom a little more frequently--especially as I get older with my TB (tiny bladder).  The old saying is "ashes to ashes, dust to dust", with bottle water it is "water to water"!  We don't buy water, we rent it--think about it.  Yet those advertisers must be doing something right as worldwide the industry makes between 50 to 100 billion dollars a year with the market expanding at an annual rate of seven percent (Mother Nature Network at www.mnn.com).  Bottled water is big business and lots of money is being spent to keep it that way.

Here are a few points to consider:
  • Penny for penny--bottle water is not a good value.  Did you realize that you spend more money for an ounce of water than you do for an ounce of gasoline?  An ounce of bottled water, like Coca-Cola's Dasani, costs about five cents if you can find a 20-ounce bottle and it is nothing more than tap water that is bottled.  Gasoline, on the other hand, has to be pulled up through the ground with expensive machinery, sent to a refinery to be processed, then sent back to the local gas station to sold--all for less than four cents an ounce.  Bottled water puts Big Oil to shame!  Ever since I quit drinking bottle water I have had more money to buy gas! 
  • Bottled water is healthier than tap water--NOT!  According to Peter Gleick, author of Bottled and Sold, between 25 and 40 percent of the bottle water sold in the United States originates as tap water.  In theory, bottled water in the United States falls under the regulatory authority of the Food and Drug Administration. In practice, about 70 percent of bottled water never crosses state lines for sale, making it exempt from FDA oversight.  On the other hand, water systems in the United States are well regulated as they fall under the Environmental Protective Agency that conducts countless safety checks to make sure that water meets certain standards for safety.  

  • Garbage--lots of it!  Bottled water produces 1.5 million tons of plastic waster each year.  On a recent commercial it was stated that the amount of bottled water we Americans drink in a year could circle the planet nine times!  That is a lot of bottles!  Good thing that we recycle right?  Wrong!  Eighty percent of the bottles of bottled water drank never makes it to the recycling bins--the bottles just get thrown away.  With its terribly slow rate of decay--practically doesn't decay--we are going to have plastic bottles around for a long, long time.  Maybe need to do what this guy did:

The bottom line on bottled water is that it is not the smartest or even the healthiest route for anyone to go--unless living in a declared area in which the water is so contaminated that only bottled water is necessary for survival.  This is not an issue for the majority of us here in the United States.  Water is water--don't waste your money on buying bottled water.  Save some bucks, save the planet.  Instead of wasting all of that money and creating more garbage do what we do at our house--we bottle our own water straight out of the tap!  We have bought reusable water bottles that we keep filled in the refrigerator or fill up from a drinking fountain or tap.  It is a fairly cheap investment that has more than paid for itself in a matter of days.

When it comes to water I will drink mine straight out of the tap . . . it saves money and the planet. Don't be naive when it comes to water.  Think about what Garrison Keillor says:

"I am sorry, Evian and San Pellegrino and Dasani and all the other bottled waters out there—Aqua Velva, Wells Fargo, Muddy Waters, Joan Rivers, Jerry Springer, whatever—but the current campaign against paying good money for bottled water when tap water is perfectly good (and very likely purer) is so sensible on the face of it that I am now done with you.
Fini. Kaput. Ausgeschlossen. No more designer water. Water is water. If you want lemon flavoring, add a slice of lemon. You want bubbles, stick a straw in it and blow.
My father, a true conservative, would have smiled on this. All his life he resisted the attempts of big corporations to gouge him by selling him stuff he didn’t need and so he was not a consumer of high-priced water, anymore than he would’ve purchased bottles of French air or Italian soil.

No, San Pellegrino and Perrier got rich off the pretensions of liberal wastrels like moi who thought it set us apart from the unlettered masses. We ordered it in restaurants for the same reason we read books we don’t like and go to operas we don’t understand - we say to the waiter, "Perrier,” to give a continental touch to our macaroni and cheese.
 Enough. Man is capable of reform once presented with the facts, and the fact is that bottling water and shipping it is a big waste of fuel, so stop already. The water that comes to your house through a pipe is good enough, and maybe better."

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