Bottled Water Demand Starting to Cause Problems

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.

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of has since grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He worked for, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years and has also been an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.

2 responses

  1. 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
    When you subscribe to Sustainable Log, we give $1 to Alternative Gifts International in support of a cause of your choice.

  2. 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:
    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.

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