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Bottled Water: Not ‘Green’ but making Green!

March 30, 2016

Believe it or not, sales of bottled water is set to overtake sales of carbonated soft drinks by late this year, or early next year, industry observers say. This despite the fact that bottled water is about as “un-green” as you can get.Why, you ask? Oh, don’t get us started… but OK, let’s get started:

  1.  Despite all the “natural springs,” “ice glaciers” and other mythical sources of their products that “Big Water” tries to make us believe are the true source of their over-priced water, fully 40% of the water in bottle water comes straight from the tap. Yep, that’s right. They may tell you they are “irradiating” or “micro-filtering” or “charcoal filtering” the stuff, but the truth is independent laboratories have shown that good-old tap water is often just as pure, sometimes even MORE pure than the stuff in bottled water.  If you have don’t believe me, just do some research on your local water supply.  You might be surprised by how clean it is!
  2. Fashionistas, environmentalists and others in the know,  including dozens of colleges and universities across the country, are just saying “no” to bottled water.  It’s expensive, bad for the environment, and sometimes even downright unhealthy.
  3. The Local Food Movement eschews (no pun intended) the bottled water craze.  In fact, your local organic farmer probably grew your broccoli with locally-sourced water, and he/she wouldn’t have done that had he/she thought the water supply was suspect.
Ah, but the average American consumer isn’t “getting it”  — they still believe they are being “cool” by overpaying some huge multinational company for something they could get for free out of their tap!  It would be laughable if it weren’t so “uncool.”In fact, bottled water consumption grew by 7.6 percent last year while carbonated soda fell by 1.1 percent.  Now, say what you want about soda, at least you know what you’re getting. Not so, for bottled water:  it could be coming from your local city water and you would never know it.

It gets worse: bottled water posted a compound annual growth rate of 4.5 percent from 2004 to 2014, and carbonated soft drinks had a CAGR of  minus 1.9 percent during that same period.

But there are signs, the craze may be ending: while carbonated soft drinks fell for the 11th straight year, the level of decline slowed both in 2015 and 2014.

On the bright side, plastic continues to take share from other materials in beverage packaging, such as glass, aluminum, steel — even pouches, and accounted for 38.3 percent of all beverage containers in 2014, the last year from which figures are available, up from 34.6 percent in 2009.  All other categories saw declines.

Water, water, everywhere but — unfortunately — there is too much bottled water to drink!  And not enough money to drink it!


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