Guilt slinger, special edition

Fast Company: Message in a Bottle

Bottled water is often simply an indulgence, and despite the stories we tell ourselves, it is not a benign indulgence.

We’re moving 1 billion bottles of water around a week in ships, trains, and trucks in the United States alone. That’s a weekly convoy equivalent to 37,800 18-wheelers delivering water. (Water weighs 81/3 pounds a gallon.

Meanwhile, one out of six people in the world has no dependable, safe drinking water. The global economy has contrived to deny the most fundamental element of life to 1 billion people, while delivering to us an array of water “varieties” from around the globe, not one of which we actually need. That tension is only complicated by the fact that if we suddenly decided not to purchase the lake of Poland Spring water in Hollis, Maine, none of that water would find its way to people who really are thirsty.

Anil Dash adds:

It’s worth reiterating that Aquafina and Dasani are just tap water. There’s nothing wrong with that, since tap water is very good water — it’s just not worth paying 500 times as much for. I don’t have any argument against the convenience factor, either, since it makes perfect sense to take water with you when you’re on the go. You’ll just get something that’s got less bacteria and generally better quality if you fill your bottle from your tap.

I’d encourage everybody to take a look at the Fast Company article — it makes it clear that the costs of bottled water, aside from its extraordinarily expensive price, are simply not worth it.