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Is Bottled Water Somehow Worse than Bottled Sugar Water

I have a couple of problems with the continued villainy of bottled water. First and buy fioricet foremost, it's a given. If you're conscious of the effect your lifestyle has on the environment, there's no reason why you should be drinking bottled water. It's obviously stupid, it's like buying a can of air.

I'm not sure why we need two dozen campaigns to fight against buying what already comes out of our faucets for free, but I have this nagging feeling that all of that concern and effort would be better spent elsewhere. Like, how about getting congress to pass a tax credit for renewable energy.

I'm also concerned that we've somehow overlooked that bottled water isn't nearly as popular as bottled sugar water. Bottled sugar water, it turns out, is actually worse for the environment than bottled water, because you have to get the sugar. Something we enviros don't like to talk about is tramadol no rx visa only the fact that soft-drink purchases have actually declined significantly since the it's great! cialis costs advent of bottled water. This can't be a bad thing, especially considering the obesity epidemic.

Still, for some reason, there's no campaign against soda, which is responsible for about seven times more waste than bottled water.

What we're seeing here is a perfect example of a visible problem being overblown simply because it's visible. Sodas aren't visible because they've always been there, bottled water is relatively new to the scene (and altogether sillier) so it's easier to see.

But the real problem is all of the waste we never see. Like the waste that comes from that extra guest bedroom in the house, that we have just in case, but we heat and cool all year round. Or the coal fired power plants that litter the country....just far enough away that we can't see them while we're using the electricity that they produce. Or all the energy it takes to create products we buy even before they're plugged in.

America's love affair with bottled water is comparably a stupid and small problem.

Yes, it's shameful that we scorn our safe, tasty tap water in favor of a more convenient option while billions of people have no safe water to drink at all. But it is certainly not the most shameful thing about our lifestyles, so get over it. We've got more important problems folks.

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Comments (24)Add Comment
i agree...
written by Lobo, September 15, 2008
Hey I gotta agree on this one. Of course my opinion is coming from Mexico at the moment, where bottled water is absolutely "necessary" (at least for the moment where drinking from the tap is not advisable), and where the quantity of soda consumed AS WELL is staggering (i heard that mexico is cheap viagra in usa 2nd , or at least 1 of the top 5 of coca-cola's biggest consuming countries??), which is clearly evident driving the many littered streets/highways around the buy viagra canada country... so many real disasters/tragedies in this world but yes, oh how lovely it would be if the majority of soda consumed were eradicated or made natural...
Reusable bottles, anyone?
written by Slices, September 15, 2008
Whatever your favored drink might be, maybe it´s about time we start getting used to the idea of using refillable bottles rather than disposables.
written by Amy, September 15, 2008
Thanks for writing that!! I have been asking that same question for awhile... why is water so much worse than soda? I agree with you 100%.
written by P Proefrock, September 15, 2008
Fantastic rant, Hank! I'm personally opposed to bottled water in principle, and I avoid buying it as much as possible. I agree with you that it isn't the most pressing problem, but that doesn't mean that campaigns to point out the inefficiencies and absurdities of the practice aren't useful, either.

From a Michigan perspective, soda, beer, and carbonated water containers all are subject to the state 10-cent bottle refund, while bottled water bottles are not. So, bottled water containers are far more likely to appear discarded alongside roads or into trash and landfills, while recycling for containers with deposits is much higher, and they are far less visible.
written by Stephanie, September 15, 2008
I have to admit that I sometimes get a bit tired of order viagra online too much villainizing of bottled water. It's not the best thing to buy by any means but there are times when you've forgotten a refillable container and you need to get water to take with you.

You have a good point about the soda though.

I think the real issue is that one time use containers are bad for the environment. What is in them is not the big part of it. However, we need to be realistic here. There are times when you just need something to drink.
written by Mudkips, September 15, 2008
They aren't comparable. If I want soda, I can't get it for free from the tap. What are your sources for the claim that it generates 7 times more waste?
More information?
written by Ruth W, September 15, 2008
Hi, I'm a high school student who is going to participate in something called ecybermission ( for more infomation.) This is online cialis cheap interesting to me, that soda is more wasteful then water, and I would like to look into this for a project for Ecybermission, which is researching and/ or solving a problem scientifically, then informing people about it. (and possibly earning college funds/going to D.C.). I would appreciate it if you could e-mail me sites or information as to cialis sales uk why soda is more wasteful(Perhaps this can start the campagin against soda?) Thanks!
written by jj, September 15, 2008
misspelled effect by using affect in first paragraph which destroyed your credibility.
written by Ellen, September 15, 2008
I think we need to slim down in a lot of our consumptive behaviors, but I don't think I really agree with the point of this article. Soda doesn't get the wrap because you can't just turn on your kitchen faucet and get some delicious Coke. At least in America, I see bottled water as being a real problem because there is extreme needless waste behind it. I once went to a restaurant where I was offered water (not a bottle of water, just water). I was given a huge tube bottle, more glass and style than actual water, and then charged $12 for it. When water becomes fashionable and is dressed up in costumes, we have a real problem. If sodas really do cause so much waste, let's make it an issue of its own and not make water seem like the scapegoat.
written by Nikita Kondraskov, September 15, 2008
The strongest argument for bottled water is the taste of it. You would have a differend oppinion if you could sense it.

For example the vulcanic water from volvic tastes sandy. The waters from northern Italy taste chulky. The waters from the melted Arctic ice have a heavy taste of the cold spring.

Once in a while the need for good taste will force the mind to buy bottled water.

On the other hand the taste of plastic spoils the water shortly after it was exposed to air or warmth.
written by Adam, September 15, 2008
I agree, but how are you getting water out of your faucet for free? ;)
Addressing Comments
written by Hank, September 15, 2008
1. Taste Shmaste. I've never had bottled water that tasted any better than britta filtered water...and if you disagree, you should go to bangladesh and drink their water, and then see if you can find it in your heart to care.

2. Bottled water isn't sold because of taste, it's sold because of convenience, because sometimes you want water but don't want to bend down over the tap with cupped hands to get it. It's almost entirely a convenience issue.

3. Soda is just fancied up water. It's hardly more than a vector for mood-altering substances. It's far worse for the environment than water because it contains byproducts of petroleum and factory farming. Plus, we drink seven times more bottled and canned soda than bottled and canned water (which is where that statistic comes from btw.)

If you want sugar water, make some freakin' lemonade or buy kool-aid packets...jeez.
written by yosh hash, September 15, 2008
I don't believe anyone ever in recorded history ever claimed that bottled water is worse than bottled soda. THAT is the given, and you are no genius for pointing that out, Mr Green.

If only people had the intelligence to see things for what they are, but there are a lot of people who still believe the invented hype that bottled water is somehow superior to tap water.

If you don't believe that, go out and do a random survey. People are getting wise, but there are still a lot of retards out there who don't want to drink tap water. THAT is who the awareness campaign is aimed at. Please don't knock people for "acting locally".
written by Ken Roberts, September 16, 2008
Bottled water in the home is stupid. On the road it makes sense.
written by Eddy De Clercq, September 16, 2008

As mentioned in this blog, many people are reluctant versus tap water. They prefer mineral water, pushed by big media campaigns emphasizing that only water of volcanic origin or purified x number of years through the mountains can be really healthy.
The message you should remember is that you keep the use of bottled water to a minimum.

Missing a few points
written by TC, September 16, 2008
What we're seeing here is a perfect example of a visible problem being overblown simply because it's visible.

You're overlooking several key points. As several have pointed out, soda isn't widely available from the tap, and last I checked, nobody considers soda critical to survival. You can't say that about water, and many of us - who live in the rural communities targeted by bottled water giant Nestle for bottling plants - are concerned about corporate control of what should public water supplies.

For example, Nestle so badly wants to extract water (for its Poland Spring label) from the tiny town of Fryeburg that it's sued them five times - despite the fact the town's clearly said no.

In McCloud, CA, Nestle's proposed bottling plant (that yes, they went to court to try and protect) would have meant 600 truck trips per day through the town.

The pollution and noise impacts - not to mention the damage to wastersheds that occurs when you remove so much water from a single watershed - can't be divorced from the larger discussion of bottled water.

For those living in small towns under siege from bottlers like Nestle, it's hardly a small, unimportant problem as you suggested.
written by Max, September 16, 2008
In addition the points TC has brought up, you're missing another important factor here- if most or many people purchase their water in bottles shipped from somewhere else, then they will have less interest in the quality of their local water supply. This is a real problem, because there are those who can't afford to buy bottled water. What do they do when their local water supply becomes undrinkable because the infrastructure hasn't been maintained and the quality of the water isn't monitored as closely as it should be?

People say they drink bottled water because they don't trust their tap water- if everyone in a community demands that their publicly controlled water supply is clean and safe, it will be. But if too many members of a community don't care because they can just buy bottled water, nothing will get done.

And to those who say it's a convenience when you're away from home- you are aware that tap water is portable, right?
written by Herno, September 16, 2008
Banning bottled water is as stupid as banning incandescents. The problem is always the same, HOW we use things. Bottled water is convinient in many situations, but is plain stupid to drink it in your home. I for instance, fill a bottle of water and carry it to university so I don´t have to buy one there, that´s green but mostly cheap :P
Soda, is a good product and you shouldn´t stigmatice it, again, the product itself is not the problem, the "usage" is. If instead of plastic you used reusable glass bottles then there wouldn´t be so much plastic in landfills...but someone can say you are using potable water to clean the glass bottles when there´s people that don´t have any.
Vice President, Communications
written by Tom Lauria, September 16, 2008
I'm not here to knock tap U.S. water -- it's safe, mass-produced water for millions of people. What's lost in here is the sublime flavor of spring waters; fresh water in its natural state. If you can NOT discern how delicious and refreshing spring water is, then it's not for you. Stay with tap water as the only water you'll ever drink. Millions CAN taste the difference, and see the clarity, an they like non-chlorinated spring water. It's like a breath of fresh air. If we recycle the bottle properly (and I do) why we water-lovers being harrassed like criminals? Nearly everything in the supermarket andthe drug store in plastic; all of it needs to be recycled.Hank Green is on the right track about the convenience and immediate hydration of bottled water but taste is involved too.
written by Danny Wool, September 16, 2008
I am really grateful for this post. There are a couple of problems with bottled water, or soft drinks in individualized servings in general. I was recently at a party for a friend's kid. There were cans of soda, and most of the kids would open a can, take a sip, put it down, and go for a new can as soon as they got thirsty. In fact, we ended up spilling out more soft drinks than were actually drunk - and this in a town with no curbside recycling. But it isn't just kids. At the museum where I volunteer once a week, we sell bottles of water with the museum logo. One of my jobs is to make sure that people don't bring these bottles into the gallery. Instead, they take a sip and leave the rest of the bottle by the entrance. Some do pick them up on the way out, but most end up in the trash as well, usually more than half full. Not only is it a waste of plastic, but it is also a waste of water, which is certainly a commodity in some places.

And while I am at it, I may as well mention Crystal Light, a soft drink powder that gets added to tap water. The packaging there is ridiculous too: individual plastic containers, each containing about a tablespoon of powder, in a larger plastic tube. What a waste of packaging for a few spoons of powder.

Soft drinks may not be the greatest environmental problem we face, but they do promote a culture of wastefulness, in packaging and in the products themselves.

Clubber's guide
written by e, September 18, 2008
Bottled water is a huge money spinner in night clubs. They can charge $4 for a small bottle that costs them a fraction of that. A much better return than alcohol. It's up there with post-mix.

For that reason, you can get thrown out of many night clubs for cupping your hands under the tap. Some nightclubs only run hot water in their bathrooms. It doesn't leave you with a lot of options if you want to dance for a few hours, but don't want to pass out from dehydration.

on a side note, in addition to worrying about the energy used to air condition the spare room, there's also the embodied energy in the spare room itself. The average house in Australia over the last 50 years are 2x the size with 2x as many cars and 1/2 the people on a plot of land that is half the size.
written by Sarah Cobler, September 18, 2008
On face, neither bottled water nor soda are bad in respectable quantities. However, the continued privatization of water is a serious environmental justice issue, threatening people all over the world. God help us if the choice really is between buying bottled water and buying bottled soda, both from Coca Cola corporation. Learn more about the issue at

I don't think the issue is overhyped, I think its misunderstood.

escape Fluoride with Bottled Water
written by benjamin, September 19, 2008
Bottled water is for those of us that don't appreciate the enforced medication of municipal supplies with fluoride(I thought enforced medication was banned at Nuremberg - place where Nazis were tried for their crimes).

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