- Brita On Tap Filtration System, $30
- Rubbermaid 2.25qt covered pitcher, $3.41
- Nalgene 16oz HDPE Narrow-Mouth bottle, $5
Total initial investment: $38.41. Yearly filter cost: ~$60. Drinking guilt-free bottled water: priceless.
So recently I read on Boing Boing:
In fact, since the plastic for the bottles is shipped to Fiji first, the bottles’ journey is even longer. Half the wholesale cost of Fiji Water is transportation—which is to say, it costs as much to ship Fiji Water across the oceans and truck it to warehouses in the United States than it does to extract the water and bottle it.
Ouch. I could just see Fiji’s sales tanking thanks to Boing Boing’s amplification effect. I too felt my internal value system adjust to avoid bottled water more consciously in the future, though in actuality I purchase very little of it.
As it happens, I was at Trader Joe’s yesterday, and Stephanie picked up a bottle of Australian olive oil. I thought to myself, “Now wait, how is that any different? What about wine? What about anything that ends up in any grocery store?” Someone had to bring it there. Some amount of fossil fuels were burned in that process, whether via container ship, airplane, or truck. Why single out water?
Trader Joe’s sells a lot of water, but I instantly thought of the uber-environmentally and socially conscious Whole Foods. What about the gallons of water they sell? How do they justify it? Luckily I didn’t have to wait for an answer. Charles Fishman interviewed their CEO, John Mackey, in his article. Turns out his thoughts mirrored my own:
“It’s unfair to say bottled water is causing extra plastic in landfills, and it’s using energy transporting it,” he says. “There’s a substitution effect—it’s substituting for juices and Coke and Pepsi.” As for the energy used to transport water from overseas, Mackey says it is no more or less wasteful than the energy used to bring merlot from France or coffee from Ethiopia, raspberries from Chile or iPods from China. “Have we now decided that the use of any fossil fuel is somehow unethical?” Mackey asks. “I don’t think water should be picked on. Why is the iPod okay and the water is not?”