Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bottlemania

Mom is obsessed with bottled water. Not drinking it but raising awareness about the impact it has on the environment. She is always amazed that people in the United States, most of whom have access to clean drinking water, still drink bottled water. Why? When did everyone start drinking this stuff? What happened or should I say what went wrong?

Like the cover of the book says, Bottlemania is the story of how water went on sale and why we bought it. Think about this for a minute. We buy water at the store, bring it home, refrigerate it, and then drink it when it is properly chilled. What's wrong with good old tap water? Not good enough for you?

Nearly half of all the bottled water sold in the United States comes from municipal supplies and is labeld either 'drinking water' or 'purified water'. This water is filtered, filtered, and filtered again so it is nothing like the water that comes from your tap. Is it better for you than tap water? Probably not considering that more than 89% of tap water meets or exceeds federal health and safety regulations.

Can you believe that bottled water costs 240 to 10,000 more than tap water? How crazy is that? Yet people still buy it by the case loads every day. But again I ask why?

The author, Elizabeth Royte, calls bottled water an unparalleled social phenomenon. Kids today never drink tap water because they have grown up drinking bottled water. Drink tap water? No way! And drinking fountains? Cootie city! These kids are consuming bottled water at an ever alarming rate and I'm betting that most of them don't even recycle the bottles. But don't blame the kids because they are just drinking what their parents give them.

As America moved toward a faster paced society with drive thru everythings, our need for instant gratification needed to be met. The author tells us that "Bottled water fills a perceived need for convenience: hydration on the go, with bottles that fit into the palm of the hand, in a briefcase or purse." How true is that? Every car today has at least two cupholders (or bottle holders) with some minivans having more than a half dozen. Everyone is involved in perpetuating this obsession.

The heart of the book is about the author's trip to Fryeburg, Maine where she delves into the source of Poland Springs water. This tiny little town has been fighting a losing battle with Nestle, owner of Poland Springs for years and their story is told through the author. It is eye opening to read about the lives that are changed (some for the good via jobs) when Poland Springs rolled into town. There is one thing for sure about the impact they have made - the town hasn't been the same since they arrived and will never be the same again.

The real cost of the bottle water obsession can be see all around us. The environmental impacts abound when you talk about bottled water. From sinking pumps into water supplies to transporting water to stores, the carbon footprint of bottled water is huge. Just think about how much water it takes to produce a case of water. I'm talking about water that is used to make the physical bottles, caps, and packaging.

But it's not just the carbon footprint that is frightening. Local water supplies are being compromised by companies moving into communities and taking their water. Entire ecosystems are being lost by the continuous pumping of water. Millions of water bottles end up in landfills every day. What exactly are we teaching children when we hand them a bottle of water? What kind of role models are we when we drink bottled water?

What is it going to take to get people to stop drinking bottled water? When Mom and Dad were in San Francisco earlier this month, Dad got resuable water bottles for their group. It's one thing to hand someone a bottle to use and another thing to get them to use it. Mom was hopeful that everyone would do the right thing and use the bottles and she was pleasantly surprised when they did. The only trouble came when there wasn't anywhere they could refill the bottles. This was a minor problem that they overcame and soon the group was as one person put it "Michele water bottle compliant". To say this thrilled Mom would be an understatement. She finally felt like people were listening, understanding their role, and taking action.

We should be so grateful to have access to clean drinking water. We should thank our lucky stars every day that water is plentiful where most of us live. We should also be thankful that we have the knowledge to change the future. Water is a finite resource and one that we cannot live without. If we don't take action now to conserve water, there may be a time in the not so distant future when we will be forced to buy water, if there is any left.

I drink tap water and I love it. If it's good enough for me, isn't it good enough for you? Please get yourself a reusable bottle and carry it with you wherever you go. If you do this you will never be in a situation where you will 'need' to buy bottled water. Purchase reusable bottles for friends and give them as gifts. Spread the word about good old tap water. Encourage those around you to try it - they might just like it.

10 comments:

Oakley and Swisher said...

Very good post. Our mom agrees with a lot of what was said. It is very frustrating how much of business bottled water is, when we pay for it to come out of the faucet. But the even more upsetting thing is the reusable bottle business is even more costly and corporate. Sigg lying or not telling the truth about what their bottles were made of was very upsetting to mom after they are so expensive.

Lots of Licks--
oak and swish's mom

Stubby said...

Hi Oakley & Swisher! We were really disappointed with the Sigg announcement too. The fact that the lied about this has cost them many customers, us included.

Luckily, there are many other quality reusable bottles on the market. Some are not as expensive as Sigg and some are even more expensive. With the cost of bottled water, simply spending the money you would spend on a few water bottles on a reusable bottle is the best thing to do.

Stubby xoxo

Woodrow, Luna, MJ Campanella said...

we totally agree - we dont buy water - we have some metal bottles we refill and carry

Woodrow - Sweetie - MJ

Sequoia & Petunia said...

Love the post! Mom has a Sigg bottle and a fake Target sigg bottle and now she wonders about it too? At work she drinks out of a funky cup and people laugh at it but its cheap and good for the enviroment!

Sandra y Coco said...

Hi Stubby! Mom used to drink tap water even in Peru, where it is not always pure. But she thought she was helping her stomach be strong that way. She never got sick. Here in Miami she also used to drink tap water all the time, but she has noticed lately that they put too much chloride in the water, she can smell it and taste it. So from time to time, she buys bottled water because tap water is not doing her good, and she is careful to recycle. She is not happy though, she just doesn't know what to do about the chlorine in the water. Daddy said he was going to buy a filter, but we don't know if that will help.

Stubby said...

Hi Woodrow, Sweetie, & MJ! Hooray to you guys for not drinking bottled water. Carrying a metal bottle and refilling it is one of the best things you can do for the planet.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Tuni & Sequoia! Tell you mom to check the inside linings of the bottles. She can compare them to the linings on the Sigg website to see which ones she has and then decide what to do - http://www.sigg.com/about-sigg/about-our-liners-and-reusable-bottles/which-liner-do-i-have.

People can laugh all they want about funky cup your mom uses. She is doing the right thing and hopefully inspiring others to do the same!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Coco! Your mom was smart to drink the tap water in Peru because it probably did make her stomach stronger. Mom drank tap water in Ecuador and was fine.

Chlorine is used in water to kill bacteria. It could be that the water in Miami has a high bacteria count, thus they are added more chlorine to the water. Buying a filter for your tap will definitely help, just make sure your mom buys one that can be recycled.

Stubby xoxo

Pearl said...

Hi Stubby!
Momma is really trying to do better with this. Her office just discontinued their bottled water in an effort to be more environmentally-friendly, and she was so shocked that she doesn't even miss it now that it's gone! DUH!
PS I read on Coco's blog that it's in the 40's where you live today! I am so jealous- I love cool weather!
xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Pearly Poo! Kudos to your momma's office for discontinuing their bottled water. Make sure to buy your momma a pretty reusable bottle that she can fill with tap water.

You should come up her Pearly because the weather has definitely taken a turn for the cool. Dad put the heat on this morning because Mom was freezing. It's dinnertime now and it's 57 degrees.

Stubby xoxo