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Bottled Water Demand Starting to Cause Problems

| Thursday February 23rd, 2006 | 2 Comments

bottled_water.jpgDespite the noteworthy efforts of bottled water companies like Ethos and Biota, plastic bottles seem to be accumulating at an alarming rate, particularily in the developing world. (See this article in WBCSD) Part of it is fashion and paranoia in the United States, but part of it is grounded in legitimate distrust for the municipal water supplies that a generation ago were drunk from without so much as a second thought. What changed?
In the developing world, it’s obvious why people drink bottled water – tap water really isn’t safe as a general rule, but how many billions of plastic bottles can we handle? Even if they are reused or recycled? Hopefully bottled water companies will come to embrace non-plastic bottles, or at least attempt some better recycling programs than are currently in place. But more importantly, maybe we can get better guarantees from local governments that tap water is both safe and tasty.


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  • http://sustainablelog.blogspot.com Mark Brandon

    How high is the profit margin on a bottle of water? There are biodegradable plastic options now, made from corn, that are only slightly more expensive than the petroleum-based alternatives. It would be an easy transition if there were external influences to encourage them to make the change.
    Mark Brandon
    Sustainable Log – News and Views for Socially Responsible Investors
    http://sustainablelog.blogspot.com
    http://www.firstsustainable.com
    When you subscribe to Sustainable Log, we give $1 to Alternative Gifts International in support of a cause of your choice.

  • http://psdblog.worldbank.org/ P.H.

    Actually, in many countries plastic bottles are not used. Rather glass bottles that you trade back in at your next purchase.
    Here in the US there are some neat projects with reusing plastic bottles: http://psdblog.worldbank.org/psdblog/2005/10/made_from_waste.html
    There has also been talks about the rediculous costs of bottled water in the US and Europe. Evian is more expensive than water by the barrel – and has no taste. Many are arguing that instead of buying that bottle of water in NY you should donate that money to improving water and sanitation in poor countries.
    http://psdblog.worldbank.org/psdblog/2005/08/water_a_taste_t.html
    http://psdblog.worldbank.org/psdblog/2005/08/the_power_of_a_.html