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The true cost of bottled water

October 28, 2010

How much do you pay for a gallon of milk? $3.50? $8? Let’s say for argument’s sake you pay around $4.50.

What would happen if somebody offered you milk for $1,080? Now, keep in mind that this milk would have pretty packaging. It would come with a label depicting an idealistic pastoral scene of a cow grazing in a meadow somewhere in the hills of Vermont. It might claim that it’s better for you. Would you pay the $1,080?

What if you paid the premium only to find out that your $1,080 milk and your $4.50 milk were essentially the same? That the main difference was the pretty label and the false claim that the more expensive milk was somehow superior?

Well, that essentially, is what we are doing with bottled water. On average, we as consumers pay anywhere between 240 – 10,000 times as much for bottled water as we do tap water. And most of the time, the bottled water quality isn’t different than what comes out of the tap. It seems ridiculous when you think about it in terms of any other commodity and yet with bottled water, we as consumers cannot seem to get enough.

Last year in the U.S., bottled water was a $10 billion industry. Every year, 17.6 million barrels of oil are consumed in the manufacturing process of those plastic bottles.

There have been many reports and tests, like this one from the NRDC BOTTLED WATER: Pure Drink or Pure Hype? that have told us the truths about bottled water. So why are we still drinking it? If it is about contaminants, we can filter. If it’s about having water when you’re out and about, there are plenty of reusable containers. If it’s about wanting to drink water from an untouched glacial spring somewhere in Alaska… well, the marketing world thanks you.

So seriously, what is our obsession with bottled water??

Check out this recent and interesting article via Treehugger — Nestle vs. Oregon: Battle Heats Up over Columbia River Gorge

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