I saw a story on the local news last night about the trend in fancy bottled water. I know I'm old-fashioned, but to me even a bottle of Poland Springs
for $1 is a rip-off. Many taste tests over the past few years have shown good ole' NY City tap water beats the pricey bottled water hands down.
The TV news story talked about a bar in Westchester that has fancy bottled waters lined up on the wall. A glass will set you back a couple of dollars or more, depending what fancy brand you order.
Think about it... bottled water at $1 per comes to more than $16/gallon. Kinda makes gas look like a real bargain.
Congrats to the marketers behind the water brands. Good work, ladies and gents. You've built an $11 billion marketplace here in the U.S. And it's projected to grow by 90% over the next four years.
But... aside from the price at the store, what other costs are there?
According to a story in the Seattle Post Intelligencer back in April, an environmental think tank, the Earth Policy Institute, says that to make the plastic for all those water bottles burns up something like 1.5 million barrels of oil -- enough to power 100,000 cars for a year. Nearly 90 percent of the bottles are not recycled, since most states have no return deposit on water bottles.
There's more... "The bottled water industry is selling a vision of purity and people are buying it with the best of intentions," said a senior scientist at the Natural Water Defenses Council. "What they don't realize is that bottled water is actually much less regulated than tap water. There are a number of studies in which we find arsenic, disinfection byproducts and bacteria in bottled water."
The FDA does allow trace levels of contaminants in bottled water based on the same criteria set by the Environmental Protection Agency for tap water. But on the FDA's web site, the agency also says, "Bottled water plants generally are assigned a low priority for inspection."