Bottled Water Debate

“I don’t see why people have to buy bottled water. The cost of it is huge.”

“It’s no cheaper than buying a bottle of pop or juice.”

“I know that. But the fact that we have inexpensive, perfectly good drinking water that comes from the tap makes it ridiculous that we consume bottled water as a product. I mean just think of the environmental cost of packing and shipping this product. Not only are we producing huge amounts of plastic but we are then transporting it across huge distances by truck. Thus we are polluting the air, using more gasoline, and creating a huge amount of garbage.”

“But the bottles are recyclable.”

“Yes they are, but many end up in landfills anyway. And there is a cost to recycling as well. Bottled water just isn’t worth it.”

“I understand that but I want a healthy alternative when I am out and about. I don’t want to have to buy a sugared beverage to quench my thirst. I don’t want to have to buy a pop that has caffeine in it or a juice drink that contains very little juice. That is why I buy bottled water.”

“I agree. I drink a lot of water but I don’t drink it out of single use bottles. I have plastic refillable water bottles that I use. I even bought a new stainless steel one. The new one is really cool because it comes with a carabineer so I can clip it to my belt when I go out.”

“That is cool.”

“Even cooler would be that if this became acceptable. I think businesses need to start letting people bring in their own water bottles. They could charge a small fee for filling them up with tap water and everyone would have a healthy alternative to the pop and sugary drinks that are mostly available. Bottled Water could still be available for those who wish to consume it but the government should heavily tax it to deter its use by the general consumer.”

“That’s a cool idea. I don’t know if people who go for it though.”

“Why not? People pay the tax for cigarettes and alcohol.”


“All I know is that it is time for a change. We need to think of the environmental cost of the things we consume. This plan could significantly reduce that cost.”

“And put bottled water companies out of business.”

“I don’t think that should be our concern. Businesses need to grow and adapt. It wouldn’t be the first line of business to go the way of the dinosaur. Besides, that is a small cost to pay in relation to what we have been talking about.”

10 responses to “Bottled Water Debate”

  1. One part missing from the bottled water debate is the effects of water extraction projects on small rural towns (typically the targets of Nestle Waters of North America’s “spring water” bottling efforts).

    I document Nestle’s rather predatory behaviors in rural towns on my blog, and urge people to know one of the “hidden” costs of bottled water.

  2. Thanks for stopping by and furthering the debate.

    For my part, I have stopped consuming bottled water. We had some at our staff meeting last night but I had brought my own refillable bottle and drank from that instead.

  3. Those small town individuals protesting Nestle Waters extraction plans have yet to produce an iota of evidence that the company has significantly impacted the water supplies in the dozens of other communities where it operates. It’s unsubstantiated fear based on a fundamental lack of understanding of hydrogeology.

    Bottled water isn’t the bogeyman that you make it out to be. Yes, it has a carbon footprint many times greater than tap water – but relative to soft drinks or beer, it’s better for the environment (and public health). Bottled water isn’t going anywhere – all these protests are wasted breath, just stunting the growth of existing bottled companies in the short-term, and fueling growth of less healthy alternatives – good for you!

  4. Hi Anonymous,

    I heard a stat on the radio the other day that said 10 percent of the Canadian population drink over 50 percent of all the beer consumed in the country. That sounds crazy but it makes sense.

    Not everyone drinks beer. I don’t and I rarely touch soft drinks either. I drink tap water almost primarily. I think it would help us all to make tap water more accessible to all.

    I hope that by writing my argument as a dialogue here that I have a least got people thinking about tap water. It is something that we take for granted in this country and that’s a shame.

  5. Hi,

    I have a pretty low-carbon foot print. No children(I am 55) which is an environmental decision I made when I was 19. I do not own a vehicle. I do drink bottled water(18.9lt) refillable and carry my own stainless steel (1lt) refillable container and stainless steel travel mug for hot beverages. I do not drink tap water because I got sick from beaver fever 20 years ago by the municipal supply where I was living and wary of most public systems which use chlorine which is a known carcinogenic. I would have a filter system where I live but I rent and do move around. I feel that western society has been too caught up in the consumer format and now China which used to be a bicycle society is now looking at western society as the way to be. Trust me, western society is not the glowing example of how the planet should be.
    I have been against the space program and military spending since 1970 and if all that money that has been wasted on those two areas was spent on the making the earth better I believe things would have been a whole lot better.

  6. Hi Devo,

    You make some good points there. We all make decisions that affect the entire planet.

    I think the space program has its merits though. We always have the desire to explore and see what is out there. We are also finding out lots of interesting things from it.

    Good job on trying to be environmentally responsible.

  7. Yes, the Europeans explored the Americas and look at the mess they made in 500 years. Have you seen pictures of the garbage floating around earth right now. The big worry is bits of trash flying at high speed hitting astronauts, the space station and satellites. I have been a advocate of Robert Malthus and the latest June issue of National Geo only confirms his writings. One of the sad statements in the article is on page 32. There it states that “the corn used to make a 25 gallon tank of ethanol would feed one person for a year”. As well Federal mandates for corn based ethanol used up 30% of the 2008 USA crop driving up prices to triple in three years. Add to that the increase use of fertilizer to produce corn which many farmers have switched to from soy-beans and the dead-zone in the Gulf of Mexico has been growing.
    In the book Future Shock by Alvin Toffler which came out when I was leaving high school in 1970 said that technology in the future will cause thermal warming of the polar ice-caps.
    We have gone too far too fast too soon in this reckless ideology that rapid progress and expansionism is the way it should be.
    Every empire that has tried to control Afghanistan has fallen apart. What we are living through is the fall of the American Empire.
    In my opinion I like this planet a whole lot better when there was only 3billion people.