The bottled water industry seems to have come under some serious fire recently, and - after finally pulling my head out of the sand and educating myself on some of the issues - for good reason. My bandmate Glenn was way ahead of me on this issue - he posted this back in May after having read this article in a Maclean's magazine.
Well, last night I read this article in the current issue of Fast Company and really had my bell rung. I was amazed to discover that in America last year we spent $15 billion on bottled water - more than iPods and movies combined. Senior writer Charles Fishman examines how complex the mix of social, environmental, and economic issues surrounding the water business can be. He points out the obvious - we don't really need bottled water! - but doesn't just go ahead and brand it as evil.
This was one of my favorite quotes:
"In San Francisco, the municipal water comes from inside Yosemite National Park. It’s so good the EPA doesn’t require San Francisco to filter it. If you bought and drank a bottle of Evian [for $1.35], you could refill that bottle once a day for 10 years, 5 months, and 21 days with San Francisco tap water before that water would cost $1.35."
Yes, I want to be a good steward of my environment - throwing away all those empty plastic bottles seems rather silly (not to mention the millions of dollars we spend importing water from other countries when we have more than enough here in America). But the thing that really gets me is how much we're spending - I'm spending! - on a product that, where I live, is both free and safe.
So - next time you see me with a bottle of water in hand, ask me if it's been refilled. It's such a small thing but can have such a great impact. Will you join me?