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Virgin Pure Plans to Transform UK Tap Water

Leon Kaye | Thursday May 31st, 2012 | 5 Comments

virgin, virgin pure, virgin group, bottled water, tap water, virgin strauss water, ofra strauss, richard branson, united kingdomThis week Virgin Strauss Water joined forces to reveal what two leading companies believe is a revolutionary way to consume tap water throughout the United Kingdom. Virgin Group’s Richard Branson and the Strauss Group’s Ofra Strauss headlined an event marking the launch of Virgin Pure, a water filtration system for the home.

The Virgin Strauss Water venture, according to the two CEOs, will transform how families in the United Kingdom will drink water at home. Currently about 20 percent of British households consume bottled water, and about the same ratio use filtered water. Together that is a potential market of 10 million families who are avoiding the UK’s tap water. Is this a truly innovative product, another eye-rolling attack on tap water, or both?

The answer could depend on where you live within the British isles. Many of the pipes carrying water to British homes date back as far as Victorian times. While British drinking water overall is judged to be safe, consumers have shown concerns over the possibility of everything from trace amounts of contraceptives to cancer and psychiatric drugs showing up in tap water. Water treatment and filter companies are quick to remind consumers that other chemicals including chlorine and aluminum sulphate are routinely added to the Brits’ water supply.

virgin, virgin pure, virgin group, bottled water, tap water, virgin strauss water, ofra strauss, richard branson, united kingdomNaturally Branson and Strauss are pitching the “improvement” to people’s lives, and they do have a point. Many Brits get weary from lugging huge jugs of water home, and bottled water has become an unnecessary and costly addition to families’ budgets. The Virgin Pure systems also pay homage to that fine British tradition of having tea while eliminating the pesky task of plunking a kettle on the stove.

The water filtration systems are certainly sleek looking, but they do come with a sizable up front investment of about GBP 299, or about $460 dollars for the lower priced models. While many people in the industrialized world still have too much of an irrational fear over drinking tap water, if systems like Virgin Pure can eliminate the waste from plastic bottles, than the reduced amount of garbage may well be worth the cost if these products become popular and scale.

Leon Kaye, based in California, is a sustainability consultant and the editor of GreenGoPost.com. He also contributes to Guardian Sustainable Business and Inhabitat. You can follow him on Twitter.

Photos courtesy Strauss Group.


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  • Brian Jones G8ASO

    I have used filtered water for years, makes a much better cup of tea and drinking water is free from the small of chlorine etc. I have a special tap with 3 taps built in. Worth every penny.

  • Somedude

    20% of people only drink bottled or filtered water , 20% of the UK population are complete morons , correlation? I think so

  • http://www.triplepundit.com Nick Aster

    Good stuff.  I’ve always said Tap Water just needed better branding.

  • Peyton Anderson

    Love it.  Granted, here in New York filtering tap water is utterly un-needed (doesn’t stop a lot of clever people from buying bottles anyway).   It’s wonderful to see someone putting some common sense back in people’s lives.   If Virgin and Strauss make good money off it, all the better!

  • Chris Macrae

    no we are not complete morons- water is better for you than coke- the problem as anyone with kindergarten marketing knowledge should know is being within arms reach of desire with covnenient can or borrtle – at very least virgin should issue a dozen fashion-looking plastic bottles to get the habit started that you can bottle your own