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Bottled Water

Bottled water is drinking water packaged in bottles for individual consumption and retail sale.

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It may be time to re-evaluate how we use bottled water.

  • Jun 12, 2009
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When I was growing up the idea that one day most of us would pay for bottled water at the supermarket seemed positively preposterous.  Yet, as I write this in 2009 it is estimated that consumers worldwide spend between $50 and $100 billion dollars per year on the stuff.  I have always been skeptical about the claims that the bottlers make about the quality of the water that they are peddling and rarely buy it.   Recently,  I decided to take a closer look at this issue.  Chris Baskind writes on Environmental issues and is the Publisher of Vida Verde Media, a green lifestyle media company.  I came across an article he has written entitled "Five Reasons Not To Drink Bottled Water".   Mr. Baskind makes a very compelling case for his position.
In this article,  Chris Baskind offers five good reasons why people should avoid the use of bottled water whenever possible.  I will summarize them briefly:
1)  Bottled water is not a good value.   This is certainly true.  The fact of the matter is that people pay much more per gallon for bottled water than they do for gasoline. 
2)  Bottled water is no healthier than tap water.    This is a point that I am sure can be the subject of intense debate.  But a good deal of the evidence that I have looked at seems to indicate that this is largely true.
3)  Bottled water means garbage.   On this point there can be no debate.  The evidence is incontrovertible.  According to Mr. Baskind's article "Bottled water produces up to 1.5 million tons of plastic each year.    
4)  Bottled water means less attention to public systems.  In my view this is one of Mr. Baskind's most cogent points and something I had never really considered.  To quote Mr. Baskind from his article:  "Only the very affluent can afford to switch their water consumption to bottled sources.  Once distanced from public systems, these consumers have little incentive to support bind issues and other methods of upgrading municipal water treatment".   So once again,  lower class working stiffs and the poor are forced to make deal with the consequences of poorly maintained infrastructure.
5)   The corporatization of water.   In order to raise funds to address immediate budgetary shortfalls municipalities all over the world are selling off their water works to private companies.   This might solve the immediate financial problems but in the long-run this idea is extremely short-sighted. 

So there you have it.  A very compelling case why we should limit our use of bottled water.  Now am I saying that people should never use bottled water?  Certainly not.  For one thing everyone should have a stash of bottled water at home in case of an emergency.  Furthermore, each one of us has our own particular set of circumstances that may make the use of bottled water a necessity at times. Perhaps the water in your neck of the woods is of poor quality and you have no other choice right now.  What I am trying to accomplish here is to make everyone aware of the fact that there are consequences to our use of this product. Think of all the fuel that is wasted hauling this stuff around the country. Think of all the waste that is being created. If we all take the time to consider this perhaps we can begin to reduce the wasteful and unnecessary consumption of this product.

To read Chris Baskind's entire article click on the link below:



Bottled water It may be time to re-evaluate how we use bottled water. It may be time to re-evaluate how we use bottled water. It may be time to re-evaluate how we use bottled water.

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March 06, 2010
Really good points. The less plastic the better and then the fact that bottled water isn't any better than tap water is huge to me. Water bottles are filling our landfills and other areas. I hope we stop consuming so much bottled water and reduce all of this waste.
January 07, 2010
So appreciate you posting this. I much prefer to know I am drinking water from our watershed. Our city (Santa Cruz) tap water doesn't taste so great but we fill up glass gallon jugs, stick them out on the deck for 24 hours (no lid) and it tastes great; can't remember what evaporates but something we're better off without! BTW EcoTrust designed a 'Watershed Ladder' so people on West Coast USA at least can input their street address to discover their watershed/headwaters if you don't already know (I like knowing where my water comes from!) http://www.inforain.org/watershed/index.php
November 20, 2009
Great review. If you get a chance to listen to or see Lewis Black on Broadway he does a whole monologue on milk and bottle water and he says a lot of the same things but he puts a hilarious spin on it.
July 13, 2009
I became more aware of these issues after reading Great Lakes Water Wars (and living on the shores of Lake Erie). http://www.amazon.com/Great-Lakes-Water-Wars...s&qid=1206237217&sr=1-1 Some people in the southwest may not be too happy with the states and provinces protecting the Great Lakes watershed. However, bottled water is a major concern in our area, as the companies pump it out, ship it all over, and do not replace it. Great review.
June 25, 2009
Well, Paul, I have to say that I slipped the other day and bought some bottled water. Shame on me! But I was out with nothing to drink. That was my first bottled water in months, though. I keep thinking about this review.....
June 22, 2009
Both George Carlin and Lewis Black had very entertaining but remarkably insightful discussions on bottled water. One thing that stands out is that it is probably a conspiracy to give money to Coke and Pepsi for something that we can get freely in our home without ever going outside.
September 24, 2009
There's truth to what Carlin and Black say. Coke produces Dasani Water... but it's Tap Water put in a bottle. That's all it is. People who buy Dasani and get it from the vending machines are getting the same water they could get out of their faucet. And Pepsi? They do the same thing with Aquafina.
June 12, 2009
Great review, drifter! This definitely makes you think twice, now I'm glad that I don't spend my money on water bottles at the store. But, I do have a confession- I do buy it out of a vending machine from time to time...better to be hydrated than proud! Thanks so much for shedding some light...
June 12, 2009
I've always been ahead of my time and I guess I was as a kid as well. I was selling water out of a bucket when I was about 8 years old...(Ok, so it wasn't bottled), but I sold it for a dime nonetheless. I didn't have much money then, so I'd stand in front of our neighborhood grocery store on a hot summer day and wait for the Hostess Cake guy to drive up in his truck. As he swiped the sweat off his face, I'd run up to him and offer him a cup of my delicious tap water out of my grandma's bucket. It always worked....gee, wonder if I could do that now. Your point, however, is well taken. When I lived in L.A. everyone walked around with a water bottle either sticking out of a gym bag or hanging on their baby buggy. It was hilarious, but I quickly picked up on this silly trend myself and I have to admit that it's a big waste of money, not to mention the garbage that it harbors. Over the last few years I'm back to drinking tap water (St. Louis does have delicious water) and haven't gotten sick once. Once again....what a bill of goods we've been sold! Are we naive or what??
June 12, 2009
I LOVED this story that you added here, Donna! I can visualize it with you running up to the Hostess Cake guy- great anecdote!
June 12, 2009
Very informative.  Sharing this with my friends and family.  I didn't know about "corporatization of water" It kind of reminds me of the last James Bond, Quantum of Solace. :-)
June 12, 2009
Great Points Drifter! After reading @HealthyRache's review of aluminum water bottles http://lunch.com/t/8ee I went out and bought a Klean Kanteen that I fill up and take with me. Much cheaper than buying bottled water.
More Bottled Water reviews
Quick Tip by . May 28, 2011
Another one of those great corporate tricks used on naive suburbanites to make them believe they're living healthier. Really, in this country we have access to the very best, cleanest tap water on the planet, and we've managed to trick ourselves into thinking we're doing ourselves good by paying three bucks a bottle. This isn't a healthy choice; it's a middle-class status symbol which, FYI, is produced in factories.
Quick Tip by . January 24, 2010
While convenient, water bottles have a horrendous impact on the environment and release harmful chemicals known to cause cancer.
About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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The U.S. is the largest consumer market for bottled water in the world, followed by Mexico, China, and Brazil. In 2008, U.S. bottled water sales topped 8.6 billion gallons for 28.9% of the U.S. liquid refreshment beverage market, exceeding sales of all other beverages except carbonated soft drinks, followed by fruit juices and sports drinks.

In the United States, bottled water is regulated by the Food & Drug Administration according to standards of identity, standards of quality and good manufacturing practices.

Standards of identity define types of water for labeling purposes. To be called ground water, the water must not be under the direct influence of surface water. Water containing not less than 250 parts per million of total dissolved solids are mineral water. Artesian water comes from a well tapping a confined aquifer in which the water level stands at some height above the top of the aquifer; it may be collected with the assistance of external force to enhance the natural underground pressure. Water that has been produced by distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis or similar processes are purified or demineralized water. Sparkling water contains the same amount of carbon dioxide that it had at emergence from the source, although it may be removed and replenished in treatment. Spring water must be derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the Earth's surface. Sterile water water meets the requirements under ...
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