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Bottled Water Craze Gone Crazy

Bottled Water Craze Gone Crazy

Bottled water–how did it come to this? The tag line for a new bottled water called Tap’dNY is “No glaciers were harmed making this water.”

I have to think we have a problem when a company starts selling bottled water with an environmentally friendly spin. Tap’dNY is bottled, filtered New York City tap water. Now I happen to live on NYC tap water and think it’s pretty delicious–but to put it in a bottle with a marketing campaign that includes an environmental manifesto stinks of greenwashing in a way so curiously blatant that I am almost certain this must be a conceptual art piece. But now that I am actually seeing the bottles in the supermarket, I’m thinking something has gone terribly wrong. I’m all for poignant novelties–but when they come in polyethylene terephthalate bottles, not so much.

The idea of Tap’dNY is that if you’re going to drink bottled water, make sure it’s local. (OK, how about not drinking bottled water–how’s that?) But here they have a point–not about drinking bottled water, but about drinking local water. Which brings me to a Forbes Traveler story on the Most Expensive Bottled Water. There’s your basic spring water from Tennessee called BlingH20–and for a mere $36 per bottle you get “couture water that makes an announcement like a Rolls Royce Phantom” (gag), according to the Bling site. But if you really want to get all Louis IV with your water, drink icebergs and glaciers, like 10 Thousand BC “luxury glacier water”–which rings in at $45 per bottle.

I’m fascinated by these waters. What does it say about our culture that someone would spend $45 on 12,000-year-old water? It says to me that our world has become so polluted that purity takes on mythic proportions. That something that has been protected from our toxic chaos is so rare that it is twisting our idea of what is right and wrong. I admit the idea of drinking something so pure seems inherently curative, but at what cost? (Not to mention that the purity must be compromised during the harvesting, processing, bottling, etc.) Sorry, but the idea of using the energy to harvest and melt icebergs, bottle it, and ship them all over the globe is screwy beyond. Come to think of it, it almost makes bottled NYC tap water seem like a good idea.

Since I don’t have a glacier in my backyard to go suck on, I am thankful to have great municipal tap water. (For those of you who don’t know it, as counter-intuitive as it may be, NYC does have award-winning, really excellent tap water.) I drink it from the tap, fill up my kids’ SIGG bottles and call it a day. No glaciers are harmed while I hydrate.

For those of you without great water, here are some places to find out about filtration and purification:
Well Water Filters Other Than Reverse Osmosis
Tips for Selecting Water Purifiers
Filters for Municipal Water

Read more: Home, All recipes, Drinks, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, , , , , ,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


+ add your own
8:28AM PST on Feb 9, 2013


1:41AM PDT on Mar 12, 2012

Thanks for posting.

7:36PM PST on Mar 10, 2012

Tap water's ok if it's clean.

3:46PM PST on Mar 10, 2012

I so thank you!. In Argentina I do not trust tap is are contaminated...unless in some cities...Regards, Sergio.

3:18AM PST on Jan 9, 2012

It is so stupid that at many households, bottled water is used at home. I can understand using it if you are on the go, but why someone would go to the kitchen and drink bottled water there is beyond me.

3:14AM PST on Jan 9, 2012

"Bottled water costs more than gasoline. It's true! Check it out. It's actually cheaper to drink petrol! That's how much bottled water companies are ripping us off. A licence to print money, better than oil, cheaper to extract."
One of the big reasons I stopped drinking bottled water- it is like x10000 more expensive than tap (not an exaggeration). I had one today because our ice machine was being stupid, but thats the 1st one in months. The reduction in pollution is great too... but you don't have to be a "tree hugger" to save money.

2:35PM PST on Dec 14, 2011


7:02AM PDT on Oct 7, 2011


12:31AM PDT on Oct 7, 2011

Thanks Melissa.

12:32PM PDT on Oct 6, 2011


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Thanks for the very good article! I only use essential oils to help with the catty/doggy house smell…

Nothing new. Thank you.


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