?

Log in

No account? Create an account

[icon] Bottled water - Patti
View:Recent Entries.
View:Archive.
View:Friends.
View:Profile.
View:Website (pattib.org).

Security:
Subject:Bottled water
Time:01:53 am
Be careful... she's winding up for a rant.

Last weekend I was in the grocery store, and unexpectedly found myself in an aisle I'm unfamiliar with-- the one that sells bottled water. I rarely have reason to be in this section of the supermarket, so I was shocked at what I found. The amount of shelf space dedicated to plain, generic bottled water, nearly an entire aisle, stunned me.

I live in Alameda County, California. We get our water, pure mountain runoff, from Hetch Hetchy reservoir, which happens to be located smack dab in the middle of a crappy, polluted industrial wasteland that you might have heard of. It's called Yosemite National Park. Some dude named Ansel apparently spent some time out there with a camera and managed to sell a few photos of that hellhole. San Francisco water is so good that they basically can't find impurities in it.

Not only is our tap water spectacular, but a glass of water costs a fraction of a cent. It's delivered to your kitchen through some newfangled process called gravity that doesn't pollute, doesn't waste natural resources, and is incredibly cheap to operate. I honestly can't remember the last time I had to pay the gravity bill. I just turn a knob and it's there. I don't have to go out and buy it, schlep it home, store it, or get rid of the containers. All this and it's practically free.

On the other hand, we have bottled water. It's hundreds of times as expensive as tap water. It's not safer-- in fact, it's less well-regulated than tap water. Often, bottled water is nothing more than tap water from some other city. It comes wrapped in petroleum, and it's trucked to your local store using petroleum, after which you almost certainly use petroleum to get it to your home. When you're done with it, you have a nearly-useless bottle to deal with, and it either winds up being recycled into something less useful or it spends many many years in a landfill. It lines the pockets of great big corporations with great big marketing budgets.

"But tap water tastes bad." Bullshit, I say. Bullshit. I've traveled all over the US, and I drink the tap water wherever I go. You know the worst water I've ever had? Dasani. If your tap water tastes bad to you, an inexpensive carbon filter can take care of that.

Admittedly, bottled water has some good uses. I have a stash of it in my home for emergency purposes-- I live in earthquake country, after all. A bottle can be a convenient serving container when you're on the go, at a picnic, in a casino, or wherever. As an everyday drink, though, it's ludicrously extravagant.

Bottled water is really nothing more than the triumph of marketing over common sense.
comments: Leave a comment Previous Entry Share Next Entry


rmd
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-30 09:42 am (UTC)
yeah.
i tend towards filtered water in my house, but in general, yay tap water. i'll occasionally buy bottled water, but it's when i'm out and about and there's no convenient drinking fountain.

also, HI, I'M A NITPICKING BITCH, but there's more than gravity providing it -- there are water pumping stations involved in water delivery.
(Reply) (Thread)


jnala
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-30 10:33 am (UTC)
Dasani tastes worse than Vegas tap water? Wow do we have different tastes. :) And I'm pretty sure if you'd tasted the tap water at my place in Silver Springs, you'd have been begging for something potable.

Not that I buy bottled water either - reverse osmosis units are wonderful things - but I'm amazed at the idea that you've never had tap water worse than Dasani.
(Reply) (Thread)


rhiannonstone
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-30 04:31 pm (UTC)
Dasani and Aquafina are horrible! I've never had Vegas tap water, but I would rather drink *gag* distilled water than Dasani or Aquafina.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


adb_jaeger
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-30 12:16 pm (UTC)
Evian..... "It's naive spelled backwards!"
(Reply) (Thread)


cork_dork
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-30 12:31 pm (UTC)
I'm with you to an extent -- the tap water in this part of Florida is pretty vile, since it's got a very high SO2 level. It smells like rotten eggs, depending on where the well has been drilled. So, some places around here, people get their water from cooler units (kind of like an office water cooler).

But, yeah, for the most part, tap water is really good -- and in fact, that's what a number of bottled waters are (Zephyr Hills, for example, is tap water from near Orlando. Poland Springs? Boston.). The bottle is extravagant, although it can be convenient to have a serving size of water handy that you carry around.
(Reply) (Thread)


jellymillion
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-30 12:50 pm (UTC)
As a mail-order catalog once said to me "no technology mumbo-jumbo but a marketing breakthrough". We have the aisle-long water sections here, too.

We never got Dasani over here, after a press furore over is actually being "Sidcup tap water". Since I live in Sidcup (the Coca Cola bottling/canning plant is about a mile down the road), I guess I get Dasani every day for free. Tastes fine to me.

We seem to go through a lot of bottled fizzy water (the Mrs) but the own-brand stuff at £0.34 for 2 litres is identical to name-brands at thrice the price. Oh, and small (stupidly expensive) bottles for the kids on occasion. So it serves a purpose, I suppose.
(Reply) (Thread)


jd_trouble
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-30 07:04 pm (UTC)
There's some wonderful machines that can be used to carbonate regular old water into fizzy water, and if you push the water through a Brita filter first, it tastes fabulous. Expenses are flavorings, CO2 cartridge, and the machine.
Here's an example: http://www.sodastreamusa.com/Fountain-Jets-C23.aspx.

(Sorry about the dollar figures, I'm too lazy to convert to Pounds, I'm sure these machines are on sale in GB somewhere.)
$90 gets you a basic kit including a CO2 cartridge (110 liters worth), two soda bottles, and the machine.
Flavors cost $5 for 12 L of soda. Refills on CO2 cost $22/ 110 L cartridge. So variable cost for seltzer is $.21/L and soda is $.61/L plus the fixed cost of the machine. Not necessary cheaper than soda but certainly more Green.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


rightkindofme
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-30 01:53 pm (UTC)
Have you been through Bakersfield? If you pour a glass of water and leave it to sit on the counter you can smell the chlorine from ten feet away. It was absolutely repulsive.

But yeah, we drink tap at our house.
(Reply) (Thread)


gunga_galunga
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-30 02:29 pm (UTC)
Dasani is Atlanta tap water, I believe.

The worst one in my opinion is Fiji. I mean, do we really need to take the natural resources from the locals there, bottle it, and ship it half way around the world? The one thing bad thing about tap water can be the chlorine, but charcoal filters like Brita can deal with that.

Denver water is pretty damn good, it's also snow runoff from the mountains. That said, on more than one occasion mining runoff from Leadville has almost made into the water supply. The Arkansas River on the west side of the Continental Divide, but there are a couple of pumping stations that pull water over. Leadville is an absolute disaster with water leaching through the mines and being collected in pools which sometimes overflow into the river with tremendous amounts of heavy metals and other pollutants. Drink up Las Vegans!

All that said, I don't have a huge problem with people not wanting to drink tap water, there are areas with a lot of pollution in their water, and it very frequently gets covered up by the local governments. But, if you're going to buy bottled water, buy the big bottles, not the 16 oz ones.
(Reply) (Thread)


sunday_silence
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-30 07:11 pm (UTC)
Dasani's tap water from wherever the regional bottling plant is located, run through reverse osmosis filters and then injected with ozone.

(Not all Coca-Cola bottling plants produce Dasani, though. When I worked in the Eastern Great Lakes division, we had bottling plants in Twinsburg OH, Rochester NY, and Pittston PA, but the Dasani plant was in Washington PA. NorCal, though, everything was bottled at the San Leandro plant, if I recall correctly, which I admittedly may not. Spent a lot more time in EGL.)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


abostick59
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-30 07:57 pm (UTC)
Umm, the Arkansas River is on the east side of the Divide, by definition: it flows into the Mississippi.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


gunga_galunga
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-07-01 12:33 am (UTC)
Wow do I fail at geography! I have to cross the divide to get to the headwaters from Denver (I-70 crosses it), so I always assumed it was on the west side. But, I must cross again on 91. I guess it makes sense that the Arkansas river would get to Arkansas.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

greeklady
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-30 03:05 pm (UTC)
In San Jose our water tastes like ass. Now in SF I do drink out of the tap. It tastes great. I am spoiled though, I had a well on my property in northern California. My water was so sweet and yummy! So when I came back to San Jose I bought a filter unit for the counter. Much better!

I have bottled water in the garage for emergencies and earthquakes.
(Reply) (Thread)


slfisher
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-30 03:37 pm (UTC)
I took a sustainability class a couple of years ago and the instructor ranted about bottled water then, about how bad it was for the environment, etc. One of the students also did it for his semester project.

I have a well, so I already have fabulous tasting water. I scavenge water bottles to refill them with my water, and I've never gotten over how I can no longer take my own water on airplanes.
(Reply) (Thread)


essaying
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-30 05:53 pm (UTC)
There's some new evidence about phthalates in reused commercial water bottles. You might want to consider investing a few bucks in a purpose-made drinking bottle.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


mspurrmeow
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-30 03:37 pm (UTC)
Amen.

Truthfully I buy two or three water bottles a year and re-use the hell out of them. Generally when I change gym equipment and need one that sits somewhere other than the floor, or we'll buy one-per-person when we land somewhere on vacation. We'll use it for the week or two, then pack them home or recycle. The pricing and marketing baffle me. Very little tap water offends me, but I've been in places that do have bad water. When it's brown, abrasive on the throat, and smells of sulfur so bad that I gag on it... it's bad water. That just means that I take bigger jugs from another town when I go there.
(Reply) (Thread)


bellaballanda
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-30 03:40 pm (UTC)
Me and my Britta are good. I've got a really nice *$10* bottle from Target that I re-fill constantly...

And Dasani is shitty water... I can taste the minerals in it. Aquafina is nearly as bad to my tastes.

I drink bottled water when traveling places where they tell you not the drink the water...
(Reply) (Thread)


prock
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-30 04:15 pm (UTC)
In general, buying bottled water is awful. In particular, buying it is a good idea. People who use it for general needs instead of particular needs are getting ripped off.
(Reply) (Thread)


gunga_galunga
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-07-01 12:35 am (UTC)
In general, buying bottled water is awful. In particular, buying it is a good idea.

Parse error.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


whitebird
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-07-01 04:17 am (UTC)
It's a matter of granularity.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


essaying
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-30 05:50 pm (UTC)
Maybe tap water doesn't taste bad to you. Here in Eugene, it tastes like swimming pool water -- chlorinated and pungent. The worst water ever is in Yolo County, CA (or used to be when I lived there); it tasted like mud. Even Bay Area water didn't taste "right" to me, although it certainly wasn't dreadful -- but there was a metallic undertaste that bothered me (maybe from the pipes that carried it?).

You're right on about the water filter, though. It costs $30 or so to set up, and a few more bucks when you change the filter. I've given up buying bottled water (except, occasionally, when I'm on the road); I use filtered water for coffee, tea, and drinking. I do prefer to drink from a bottle rather than a glass, so I use a reusable drinking bottle -- I'm going to invest soon in one of those stainless steel ones rather than the plastic one I've been using.
(Reply) (Thread)


byronium
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-30 06:17 pm (UTC)
I agree re: most of your points. But there are some places (SLC, Phoenix, Wisconsin) where the water is distasteful enough to me that I will sometimes opt for bottled water. I know that I'm spoiled by living in SF, and by having lived in Portland (whose water tastes even better than SF's, IMO).

That said, I will sometimes forget to bring a container with me to fill at the tap, or at the cooler/filter units (fed from the utility) that we have at work. In those cases, I will often buy/grab a bottle of water, and then keep the bottle handy to refill over the next day or two.
(Reply) (Thread)


zbignieuu
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-30 11:30 pm (UTC)
Well…some of it comes from Hetch Hetchy.

http://www.acwd.org/sources_of_supply.php5

(Not that this refutes any of your other arguments.)
(Reply) (Thread)


sabyl
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-30 11:52 pm (UTC)
Alameda county water is awesome! But Vegas water - bleh!! DFW water - bleh!! Tacoma water - bleh!!

OTOH some bottled water is pretty bad too. And a lot more expensive. I can actually tell the difference in bottled water LOL.

Chlorinated water is really bad and doesn't filter out the way other things do.
(Reply) (Thread)


whitebird
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-07-01 04:19 am (UTC)
Petaluma water always gets high marks for cleanliness. Bottled water has never ever made sense to me.

Of course, I drink more Coke than water, but, still. Bottled water is nuts on a pallet.
(Reply) (Thread)


crayonbeam
Subject:I adore bottled water
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-07-01 05:12 am (UTC)
For the ease in which it gives many people a supply of water after a catastrophe.

Otherwise, no so much purpose.
(Reply) (Thread)

(Deleted comment)

[icon] Bottled water - Patti
View:Recent Entries.
View:Archive.
View:Friends.
View:Profile.
View:Website (pattib.org).