Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bottled Bullsh*t

I'm guilty of paying for the convenience of bottled water, but I'm doing my best to put a stop to it. Charles Fishman (who wrote the excellent The Wal-Mart Effect) goes off on the bottled water industry in Fast Company. And if you want to know where a lot of that plastic ends up, google "North Pacific Gyre."
In San Francisco, the municipal water comes from inside Yosemite National Park. It's so good the EPA doesn't require San Francisco to filter it. If you bought and drank a bottle of Evian, you could refill that bottle once a day for 10 years, 5 months, and 21 days with San Francisco tap water before that water would cost $1.35. Put another way, if the water we use at home cost what even cheap bottled water costs, our monthly water bills would run $9,000.

Taste, of course, is highly personal. New Yorkers excepted, Americans love to belittle the quality of their tap water. But in blind taste tests, with waters at equal temperatures, presented in identical glasses, ordinary people can rarely distinguish between tap water, springwater, and luxury waters. At the height of Perrier's popularity, Bruce Nevins was asked on a live network radio show one morning to pick Perrier from a lineup of seven carbonated waters served in paper cups. It took him five tries.


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