17 July 2007

[world] What You Get If You Spell Evian Backwards

874. This must have been on people's minds for a while.

But lately, the subject of bottled water has just passed its tipping point, it'd seem. All of a sudden, a lot of people are talking about it.

Now, to us, the idea of buying your water in a bottle in a valley where just about everywhere you go, no matter what town you're in, tap water is not only safe and usually free but also rather tasty has always been silly, as a thing. We know tasty water; we were raised on well-water, so there's our bona-fides for you.

Now, that's not to say everywhere in the world that's true. We have acquaintances in Phoenix, for example, that say you're a fool to drink the tap water–and thier probably right, because the water there is hard enough you can bounce a ball off it, or so they say.

We found out some interesting and absurd facts in the article that seemed to have started the uproar, that one in Fast Company magazine (which we, as many others have said, will recommend you read and think hard about) called "Message in a Bottle", which will probably go down in history as an important turning point in the way people think about bottled water (or at least it ought to). Some of the interesting and absurd things we found out were:
  • While San Pellegrino water actually comes from a place called San Pellegrino, they have to truck in the gas that gives it the bubbly.
  • There is a 1-in-4 chance that the bottled Aquafina or Dasani you're drinking is just some tap water that got filtered.
  • About $1Bn worth of plastic makes it into the trash each year in the form of discarded plastic water bottles.
  • Poland Spring water is so popular that they have to truck in water from other springs just to fill the demand.
  • You can depend on Fiji Spring water to be safe for you–but half the population of Fiji can't depend on their local water not to make them sick.
  • The packaging and distribution of something the vast majority of us can get for free stresses an already-stressed environment due to the consumption of fossil fuels to make the packaging and to get it to us.
One thing that we've always known is that bottled water, venerated as being safe and healthful, is actually held to a lower standard for potability than the water coming out of your tap is. That's right. Bottled water may or may not have something in it and can still be marketed as fit for human consumption, whereas tap water may have one part per million of something that makes the pass into the bottle, and a health warning goes out.

Does that even seem sane? Not to us. We've scratched our heads at water with added this, that, or the other thing...extra oxygen in water? What? And when we saw mint water on sale on the shelves, we thought it was such a good idea, that we went home and made our own.

I'd be so bold as to say that if you insist on buying bottled water in Portland, you just don't know how good you have it.

Next time you want that old bottled water-taste, instead of buying a new bottle of Dasani (or whatever), fill your bottle from the tap. Your status-conscious friends won't know the difference, and your body certainly won't.

Your water bills pay for some of the best municipal water there is. Shouldn't you get a return on your investment? We know we do.

Or, put it this way: Ever wonder why people will pony up a few bucks for a bottle of water? Well, just spell Evian backwards, and you'll have your answer.

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