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Jan 28, 2008

What's the most you would pay for a bottle of water? Two dollars? Maybe $4 at a concert? How about $55?
bling h20
Photo courtesy Marsaili McGrath/Getty Images
 
Bling H20 -- the new (expensive) bottled water
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as a bottle of water that costs $55. Kevin Boyd, a writer and producer from Hollywood, has developed a "luxury" bottled water called Bling H2O that costs an average of $55. Depending on the size, prices can range anywhere from $25 to as much as $75. What's so special about Bling H2O that makes it so expensive? Is the water treated differently than the bottled water you buy at the gas station? Does it at least come with vitamins?
Unfortunately, you won't find any vitamins in Bling H2O. The water inside, however, does receive more treatment than what's inside an average $2 plastic bottle. According to Bling H2O's Web site, the water is bottled from natural springs in Dandridge, Tenn. The company claims to use a "nine step purification process that includes ozone, ultraviolet and microfiltration." This sounds nice, but still -- does that really make it worth $55?
Take one look at the bottle itself -- it can answer any of your questions about cost. True to its trendy name, a bottle of Bling H2O is much more than a plastic container to hold mere water. The bottles are available in limited-edition frosted glasses and covered with Swarovski crystals. Even Bling H2O's Web site admits that the product is as much about image as it is taste. The company originally handed out the water only to actors and athletes -- celebrities such as Jamie Foxx and Ben Stiller have been spotted showing off shiny bottles, and Paris Hilton allegedly feeds the water to her dog. Now, the water is available to the public and showing up in fancy New York restaurants. The makers of Bling H2O also market the bottle as reusable and refillable -- you can flaunt it around town and show how trendy and environmentally friendly you are. 
Bling Taste Test
Blind taste tests in New York City put Bling H2O up against regular bottled water and Manhattan tap water. The reactions proved to be inconsistent and unpredictable -- most people proclaimed Manhattan tap water as the best-tasting, while Bling H2O was believed to be simple tap water. Watch this amusing video of the taste test from NPR.
Even wi­thout the cost that comes from the decorative bottle and its associated brand, Bling H20 would still be expensive.
 
Bottled Water Cost

If you got rid of the fancy Bling H2O bottle and lowered the price, would it still be worth it? What about the "regular" plastic bottles of water you find in the store? Are they even worth $2?
Bottled water has become so popular that 41 billion gallons are consumed every year around the world. Many people consider it safe and convenient. Over the past few years, however, many bottled water companies labeling their product as "purified" or "natural spring water" have confessed to filling their products with simple tap water. In July 2007, for instance, Pepsi admitted to filling bottles of Aquafina with public water, even though the packaging suggests the water comes from natural springs [source: Environmental Working Group]. Recent studies have concluded that bottled water is no safer than tap water, and the costs of producing the drink and its effect on the environment have caused some alarm [source: National Geographic News].
recycling plastic bottled water
Photo courtesy Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Critics point out the resources and waste that are
byproducts of bottled water.
To understand how expensive regular bottled water is, let's compare it with gasoline. With the price of oil rising, we typically think of gasoline as very expensive. On the other hand, some of us will barely blink an eye at picking up a few bottles of water from the same gas station. Here are the numbers:
A gallon of gas costs around $3. If we assume a one-liter bottle of water from the store costs about $2.50, a gallon of the same bottled water should cost about $10. Water, life's most necessary substance, costs about three times more than gasoline when it comes in a plastic bottle. If you wanted to fill up a car's 15-gallon tank with gasoline, it would cost you about $45. If you wanted to fill up that same 15-gallon tank with bottled water, it would cost you $150 [source: National Geographic News].
Tap water, on the other hand, costs a fraction of the price of bottled water. The same $2 you spend on a liter of bottled water will get you about 1,000 gallons of tap water [source: EPA].
So, even though it's cheaper than Bling H20, bottled water is still expensive. Next, we'll take a look at some of the other products on the market that seem to cost more than they're worth.

Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted: Jan 28, 2008 4:46am
Jan 28, 2008

What's the most you would pay for a bottle of water? Two dollars? Maybe $4 at a concert? How about $55?
bling h20
Photo courtesy Marsaili McGrath/Getty Images
 
Bling H20 -- the new (expensive) bottled water
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as a bottle of water that costs $55. Kevin Boyd, a writer and producer from Hollywood, has developed a "luxury" bottled water called Bling H2O that costs an average of $55. Depending on the size, prices can range anywhere from $25 to as much as $75. What's so special about Bling H2O that makes it so expensive? Is the water treated differently than the bottled water you buy at the gas station? Does it at least come with vitamins?
Unfortunately, you won't find any vitamins in Bling H2O. The water inside, however, does receive more treatment than what's inside an average $2 plastic bottle. According to Bling H2O's Web site, the water is bottled from natural springs in Dandridge, Tenn. The company claims to use a "nine step purification process that includes ozone, ultraviolet and microfiltration." This sounds nice, but still -- does that really make it worth $55?
Take one look at the bottle itself -- it can answer any of your questions about cost. True to its trendy name, a bottle of Bling H2O is much more than a plastic container to hold mere water. The bottles are available in limited-edition frosted glasses and covered with Swarovski crystals. Even Bling H2O's Web site admits that the product is as much about image as it is taste. The company originally handed out the water only to actors and athletes -- celebrities such as Jamie Foxx and Ben Stiller have been spotted showing off shiny bottles, and Paris Hilton allegedly feeds the water to her dog. Now, the water is available to the public and showing up in fancy New York restaurants. The makers of Bling H2O also market the bottle as reusable and refillable -- you can flaunt it around town and show how trendy and environmentally friendly you are. 
Bling Taste Test
Blind taste tests in New York City put Bling H2O up against regular bottled water and Manhattan tap water. The reactions proved to be inconsistent and unpredictable -- most people proclaimed Manhattan tap water as the best-tasting, while Bling H2O was believed to be simple tap water. Watch this amusing video of the taste test from NPR.
Even wi­thout the cost that comes from the decorative bottle and its associated brand, Bling H20 would still be expensive.
 
Bottled Water Cost

If you got rid of the fancy Bling H2O bottle and lowered the price, would it still be worth it? What about the "regular" plastic bottles of water you find in the store? Are they even worth $2?
Bottled water has become so popular that 41 billion gallons are consumed every year around the world. Many people consider it safe and convenient. Over the past few years, however, many bottled water companies labeling their product as "purified" or "natural spring water" have confessed to filling their products with simple tap water. In July 2007, for instance, Pepsi admitted to filling bottles of Aquafina with public water, even though the packaging suggests the water comes from natural springs [source: Environmental Working Group]. Recent studies have concluded that bottled water is no safer than tap water, and the costs of producing the drink and its effect on the environment have caused some alarm [source: National Geographic News].
recycling plastic bottled water
Photo courtesy Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Critics point out the resources and waste that are
byproducts of bottled water.
To understand how expensive regular bottled water is, let's compare it with gasoline. With the price of oil rising, we typically think of gasoline as very expensive. On the other hand, some of us will barely blink an eye at picking up a few bottles of water from the same gas station. Here are the numbers:
A gallon of gas costs around $3. If we assume a one-liter bottle of water from the store costs about $2.50, a gallon of the same bottled water should cost about $10. Water, life's most necessary substance, costs about three times more than gasoline when it comes in a plastic bottle. If you wanted to fill up a car's 15-gallon tank with gasoline, it would cost you about $45. If you wanted to fill up that same 15-gallon tank with bottled water, it would cost you $150 [source: National Geographic News].
Tap water, on the other hand, costs a fraction of the price of bottled water. The same $2 you spend on a liter of bottled water will get you about 1,000 gallons of tap water [source: EPA].
So, even though it's cheaper than Bling H20, bottled water is still expensive. Next, we'll take a look at some of the other products on the market that seem to cost more than they're worth.

Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted: Jan 28, 2008 4:43am
Jul 12, 2007
Focus: Environment
Action Request: Various
Location: United States

Check out the new report from Food & Water Watch!

Take Back the Tap: Why Choosing Tap Water Over Bottled Water is Better for Your Health, Your Pocketbook, and the Environment
You can read the report here.
And pledge to Take Back the Tap here.

Did you know?

? Bottled water costs hundreds or thousands of times more than tap water. Compare $0.002 per gallon for most tap water to a range of $0.89 to $8.26 per gallon for bottled waters.

? The Food and Drug Administration regulates only the 30 to 40 percent of bottled water sold across state lines.

? The Environmental Protection Agency requires up to several hundred water tests per month by utility companies while the FDA requires only one water test per week by bottling companies.

? Nearly 40 percent of bottled water is simply filtered or treated tap water.

? U.S. plastic bottle production requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 100,000 cars.

? About 86 percent of the empty plastic water bottles in the United States land in the garbage instead of being recycled.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

New Food & Water Watch Report Highlights Problems with Bottled Water

Washington, DC - Choosing tap water over bottled water is better for consumers' health, their pocketbooks, and the environment, according to a new report released today by Food & Water Watch. The report is being released on the heals of a San Francisco executive order banning the use of city funds for bottled water and a U.S. Conference of Mayors resolution to study problems with bottled water consumption.

In 2005, Americans spent $8.8 billion for almost 7.2 billion gallons of non-sparkling bottled water. Consumers drank even more in 2006, about 26 gallons per person. The bottled water industry spends billions on advertising that promises purity in a bottle while implying that tap water is somehow less safe, something that is simply not true, according to the report.

"Bottled water generally is no cleaner, or safer, or healthier than tap water. In fact, the federal government requires far more rigorous and frequent safety testing and monitoring of municipal drinking water," said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. "Rather than buying into this myth of purity in a bottle, consumers should drink from the tap."

"Utilities all over the country spend millions of dollars to deliver clean, safe, affordable water right to the kitchen sink," said Susan Leal, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission General Manager. "Relying on bottles that use lots of energy to produce and are sometimes trucked or even flown thousands of miles and ultimately become a municipal solid waste problem just makes no sense," concluded Leal.

But just kicking the bottle in favor of the tap is not enough, says Food & Water Watch. Our nation's public water and sewer infrastructure is old and in the coming years will need billions of dollars of investment to maintain and further improve treatment, storage, and distribution. Each year we fall more than $20 billion short of what is needed to maintain our public water and sewage systems.

"It's time for Congress to establish a clean water trust fund that would give communities the financial help they need to invest in healthy and safe drinking water for every American and for future generations," Hauter said.

The United States maintains trust funds for highways, airports, and social security. Providing a dedicated funding stream for national priorities is sound public policy, explained Bill Holman, former executive director of the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and former secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. "The North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund has sparked innovative, community-based solutions to protect and restore water resources in North Carolina. A national clean water trust fund would provide similar benefits," said Holman.

Food & Water Watch is encouraging consumers to Take Back the Tap by choosing tap water over bottled water whenever possible and supporting increased funding for safe and affordable public tap water.

I love You Food, I Thank You Food, I Respect You Food -
I love You Water, I Thank You Water, I Respect You Water -
I love You Air, I Thank You Air, I Respect You Air.                                            
 
* Shifting Paradigms - take action to create a loving, just, unpolluted world
  
http://www.shifting-paradigms.net/ad/go4it3.html
 
* The Little Earth Book - a must-read for everybody that cares
  
http://www.littleearth.co.uk/
 
* Living Water - Viktor Schauberger, the "Water Wizard"
  
http://tinyurl.com/36c8qr
 
* Jeff Rense Program - the most comprehensive online news service
  
http://www.rense.com/     
 
* KPFA 94.1FM - the best progressive talk radio station I know of
  
http://www.kpfa.org/
Visibility: Everyone
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Posted: Jul 12, 2007 10:32am
Feb 11, 2006

by Abid Aslam
OneWorld.net, Sunday, February 5, 2006
http://us.oneworld.net/article/view/126829/1/
Reprinted on <www.commondreams.org>


WASHINGTON - Water, water everywhere and we are duped into buying it bottled.

Consumers spend a collective $100 billion every year on bottled water in the belief--often mistaken, as it happens--that this is better for us than what flows from our taps, according to environmental think tank the Earth Policy Institute (EPI).

For a fraction of that sum, everyone on the planet could have safe drinking water and proper sanitation, the Washington, D.C.-based organization said this week.

Members of the United Nations have agreed to halve the proportion of people who lack reliable and lasting access to safe drinking water by the year 2015. To meet this goal, they would have to double the $15 billion spent every year on water supply and sanitation.

''While this amount may seem large, it pales in comparison to the estimated $100 billion spent each year on bottled water,'' said EPI researcher Emily Arnold.

''There is no question that clean, affordable drinking water is essential to the health of our global community,'' Arnold said. ''But bottled water is not the answer in the developed world, nor does it solve problems for the 1.1 billion people who lack a secure water supply. Improving and expanding existing water treatment and sanitation systems is more likely to provide safe and sustainable sources of water over the long term.''

Worldwide, bottled water consumption surged to 154 billion liters (41 billion gallons) in 2004, up 57 percent from 98 billion liters in 1999, EPI said in a written analysis citing industry data. By one view, the consequences for the planet and for consumers' purses are horrifying.

''Even in areas where tap water is safe to drink, demand for bottled water is increasing--producing unnecessary garbage and consuming vast quantities of energy,'' said Arnold. ''Although in the industrial world bottled water is often no healthier than tap water, it can cost up to 10,000 times more.'' At up to $2.50 per liter ($10 per gallon), bottled water costs more than gasoline in the United States.

A close look at the multibillion-dollar bottled water industry renewed Arnold's affection for the faucet.

Tap water comes to us through an energy-efficient infrastructure whereas bottled water must be transported long distances--and nearly one-fourth of it across national borders--by boat, train, airplane, and truck. This ''involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels,'' Arnold said. By way of example, in 2004 alone, a Helsinki company shipped 1.4 million bottles of Finnish tap water 4,300 kilometers (2,700 miles) to Saudi Arabia. And although 94 percent of the bottled water sold in the United States is produced domestically, some Americans import water shipped some 9,000 kilometers from Fiji and other faraway places to satisfy demand for what Arnold termed ''chic and exotic bottled water.''

More fossil fuels are used in packaging the water. Most water bottles are made with polyethylene terephthalate, a plastic derived from crude oil. ''Making bottles to meet Americans' demand for bottled water requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel some 100,000 U.S. cars for a year,'' Arnold said.

Worldwide, some 2.7 million tons of plastic are used to bottle water each year.

Once it has been emptied, the bottle must be dumped. According to the Container Recycling Institute, 86 percent of plastic water bottles used in the United States become garbage or litter. Incinerating used bottles produces toxic byproducts such as chlorine gas and ash containing heavy metals tied to a host of human and animal health problems. Buried water bottles can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade.

Of the bottles deposited for recycling in 2004, the United States exported roughly 40 percent to destinations as far away as China--meaning that even more fossil fuels were burned in the process.

Meanwhile, communities from near which the water came in the first place risk running dry.

More than 50 Indian villages have complained of water shortages after bottlers began extracting water for sale under Coca-Cola Co.'s Dasani label, EPI said.

''Similar problems have been reported in Texas and in the Great Lakes region of North America, where farmers, fishers, and others who depend on water for their livelihoods are suffering from concentrated water extraction as water tables drop quickly,'' ''Arnold said.

All this, because many consumers associate bottled water with healthy living. More fool us.

''Bottled water is not guaranteed to be any healthier than tap water. In fact, roughly 40 percent of bottled water begins as tap water; often the only difference is added minerals that have no marked health benefit,'' EPI said.

France's Senate, it added, ''even advises people who drink bottled mineral water to change brands frequently because the added minerals are helpful in small amounts but may be dangerous in higher doses.'' To be sure, many municipal water systems have run afoul of government water quality standards--driving up demand for bottled water as a result. But according to the study, ''in a number of places, including Europe and the United States, there are more regulations governing the quality of tap water than bottled water.''

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets more stringent quality standards for tap water than does the Food and Drug Administration for the bottled stuff, it added.

Americans drank 26 billion liters of bottled water in 2004, or roughly one eight-ounce glass per person every day. Mexico had the second highest consumption, at 18 billion liters. China and Brazil followed, at close to 12 billion liters each. Italy and Germany ranked fifth and sixth in consumption, downing just over 10 billion liters of bottled water each. Italians drank the most bottled water per person, at nearly 184 liters in 2004--more than two glasses per day. Mexico and the United Arab Emirates consumed 169 and 164 liters per person. Belgium and France followed, knocking back almost 145 liters annually. Spain ranked sixth, with 137 liters swallowed each year.

Some of the fastest growth in bottled water consumption is taking place in poor countries, however.

With consumption per person increasing by 44-50 percent between 1999 and 2004, Lebanon and Mexico had among the fastest growth rates of the top 15 per-capita guzzlers, EPI said.

Indian and Chinese people drank far less individually but collectively, the world's two most populous countries appear to have been on a bender. India swigged three times as much bottled water in 2004 as it did in 1999 and China, more than twice as much.

If individual Chinese consumers drank one-fourth the bottled water downed by the average American, EPI said, China would springboard over the United States and become the world's largest consumer.

© 2006 OneWorld.net ###

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Posted: Feb 11, 2006 10:44am

 

 
 
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