Indulgence. There is a super-informative and interesting read in the July issue of Fast Company from Charles Fishman: Message in a Bottle. Fishman's piece examines the bottled water industry Maxwell touched upon in his recent post, AT on: Letting Go of Bottled Imported Mineral Water. Chock-full of information (and scary statistics) we thought you should know...
- "At Whole Foods, the upscale emporium of the organic and exotic, bottled water is the number-one item by units sold....
- "And in Fiji, a state-of-the-art factory spins out more than a million bottles a day of the hippest bottled water on the U.S. market today, while more than half the people in Fiji do not have safe, reliable drinking water. Which means it is easier for the typical American in Beverly Hills or Baltimore to get a drink of safe, pure, refreshing Fiji water than it is for most people in Fiji."
- "Put another way, if the water we use at home cost what even cheap bottled water costs, our monthly water bills would run $9,000."
There are other points of view, too:
- "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." Indeed, we still drink almost twice the amount of soda as water--which is, in fact, 90% water and also in containers made to be discarded. If bottled water raises environmental and social issues, don't soft drinks raise all those issues, plus obesity concerns?" — Whole Foods' John Mackey
- "The reality is, if Fiji Water weren't tapping its aquifer, the underground water would slide into the Pacific Ocean, somewhere just off the coast. But the corresponding reality is, someone else--the Fijian government, an NGO--could be tapping that supply and sending it through a pipe to villagers who need it. Fiji Water has, in fact, done just that, to some degree--20 water projects in the five nearby villages. Indeed, Roll has reinvested every dollar of profit since 2004 back into the business and the island."
(Pics: Nigel Cox)