Saturday, June 30, 2007

Consumer Craze

I heard an interview on NPR the other day while I was driving to rehearsal. The interview was with this water specialist whose name I don't think I even heard, but wouldn't be able to remember anyways. He was talking about the consumption of bottled water instead of tap water. He said that Americans now consume more bottled water than any other beverage, including coffee. When asked about the reasons for why we enjoy drinking bottled water over tap water, he replied that it had to do with the perception consumers had about the bottled water. That it was somehow more elite to drink it. Back in the 80's, before what he called "the fitness craze" took place, there was Perrier and Evian. He reminded us of what a big deal it was when Madonna appeared on stage with a bottle of Evian, which I don't remember but maybe you do. Since then, with other brands available like Dasani, owned by Coca-Cola, and Aquafina, owned by Pepsi, it has become a consumer frenzy to drink bottled water rather than tap water. His point was that this consumer frenzy is wasteful. It's an unnecessary use of facility, transportation, resources, and money spent. Our water system in America is incredibly safe and healthy. And that Dasani and Aquafina were nothing more than regular tap water filtered and bottled. The craze didn't have anything to do with the fact that the bottled water tasted better than the tap water.

I wondered if he'd ever lived in Houston, TX.

13 comments:

Seth Ward said...

True, and I hear NYC water is some of the best and cleanest in the world. I wonder what that would be like to drink NYC water everyday...

Brody Harper said...

I like Fiji water and no one can stop me. It's good...

SandinaJ said...

Fiji water is pretty awesome. It does taste better...I think because it's more expensive and it's in a cool, square-ish bottle.

I kind of understand the bottled water craze because it's convenient. What I don't understand is why some people pour bottled water over ice (which is frozen tap water). Doesn't that defeat the purpose once the ice is melted?

Amy said...

I like bottled water because I can take it with me. If I am at home, I drink tap water.

truevyne said...

My town Loudon's water report just came to me. The rating was slightly susceptible, and advise people who had cancer or weak immune systems to seek other water sources. Yikes! I don't always drink bottled water, but you can see why I do. Water quality here is definately negatively effected by the big industry on the river- Kimberly Clark, Staley, Viscase, and Monterray Mushroom pump freely their nastiness into the water and air. And it's always worse on Sunday when noone monitors...

FancyPants said...

Seth, I wonder....

Brody, I've never had Figi water, mostly because it's pretty much the most expensive one on the aisle, and I'm a cheapo like that.

San, yeah, but what if you buy your ice in a bag from the grocery store. Heh? Does that count as tap water ice? Because when we buy ice from the grocery store it tastes way better than the yellow ice that our freezer makes. (OK, so that only happened that one day, but it still tastes gross all the time.)

Amy, but you could fill your bottle up with tap water, right? Just as convenient?

Truevyne, Yeesh. You could go all Erin Brockovich over there.

FancyPants said...

I joke about the water here in Houston, and it does taste pretty gross unfiltered, but nothing a Britta can't fix. I actually do agree with what the guy is saying, about wasteful consumer spending. We certainly can't complain about the majority of water systems here in America. Just read here

I hadn't given much thought to the subject....

But Brody, there are some things in life that you might as well have if you can, so enjoy that Fiji water....

Matt and Shelley said...

I have a friend who works with water here in Princeton, and she said that our tap water is actually cleaner (less bacteria and other gross stuff) than bottled water. It tastes a bit like chlorine to me, but I can get over that! Go tap water!

FancyPants said...

I just learned from Euphrony that it tastes like chlorine because the water system uses it to kill bacteria...but bottled water doesn't have it, and instead uses ozone as a disinfectant. That's why bottled water tastes better. But! The ozone is volatile, so when you open your bottle of water, the ozone escapes right out of the bottle, and you're left with nothing to kill bacteria and other harmful substances. So sitting filtered or bottled water can be more harmful than tap.

Go tap water! Even though I hate how you taste! Even after I filter you!

OK, so Euph, if you're reading...how long is too long to let your bottled water sit once it's been opened?

euphrony said...

How long is too long? Um, it depends. :)

Really, it does depend on the area you're in and the overall cleanliness of the environment. A couple of hours makes little difference, but don't store it, even in the fridge. After a day or two, toss it. Maybe you're one that downs it all quickly, but some people drink only part of a bottle, then leave it for later, or will prepare something days in advance and store it. That's when it can be dangerous.

FancyPants said...

Because I'm a cheapo, I buy the gallon or 3L Ozarka jugs... Guess that's not so healthy, huh?

The Stan said...

I think as long as you're not wrapping your lips around the bottle, it should be okay, Fancypants. If you have a clean bottle of disinfected water, there's very little chance of it getting contaminated just by opening it. But your mouth harbors tons and tons of bacteria, so putting your mouth on the bottle introduces the bacteria to the bottled water, and gives it something to feed on. Remember, bacteria need something to feed on in order to thrive. There's nothing to feed on in pure water.

So don't panic. You're safe if you're pouring it into another glass to drink. I've had water in the fridge in a dispenser for months and had no problem whatsoever (except it tasted like plastic after awhile).

As far as chlorine vs. ozone, I'd go with ozone any day. Chlorine not only smells, it's harmful to your body. Ozone can be harmful, too, but it breaks down after a while and leaves no harmful trace.

FancyPants said...

Good to know, The Stan! Thanks!