Environment

Still drinking bottled water?

In Brussels I still run into friends who complain about tab-water -not daring to try it- and prefer driving to the supermarket to spend a good amount of money -and time- in buying the same water -sometimes with less quality- as they can get from the tap.

Both the flemish and walon water authorities declare that “L’eau est le produit alimentaire le plus contrôlé de Belgique et elle est analysée tous les jours dans des laboratoires” or  “L’eau du robinet est testée de manière minutieuse en vue de dépister les éléments comme le plomb, le sodium, le magnésium, les nitrates, les bactéries et divers autres éléments potentiellement dangereux”.

The american activist Annie Leonard has produced an excellent video explaining the economic interests behind bottled-water and how it becomes another example of  “manufactured demand”:

Another issue is the growing trend to use water as a luxury good and appreciate the different taste and flavours of bottled water. In my opinion this is respectable because it is true that depending on the source the water has different taste and composition and for those who don’t drink wine or beer, matching food with water can be justifiable in some special occasions. Me, I can pay 20 euros for a bottle of wine but not for a bottle of water but I’m fine if others do it as long as the tap water remains good, available and at current prices.

However, as the video rightly points out, lots of the bottled water is a rip-off because they just bottle tap-water which creates this fake demand on a common good but it also is unfair competition with the real special bottled-water which truly offers a product worth paying extra money for.

On the other hand there are the huge amounts of waste (and emissions related to extraction, transport and disposal)  related to drinking bottled water but to get the full picture see the video.

It is funny how changing the business as usual that has created the climate and economic crisis can start with such a simple thing as drinking tap water: saving money, time and the planet!

Still drinking bottled water?

1 Comment

  1. Peter

    I believe for many people the issue is less the quality than the taste of Brussels’ tap water. Plus, depending on how old your pipes are, there are quite some sediments in the water which may not be harmful, but simply look disgusting.

    However, both at home and in our office I introduced water filters and for flat water consumption we now use tap water for quite some time. I don’t want to make a special advertisement here, but it seems there is only Brita as supplier. Given that it’s only a taste problem, I only change filters every quarter and thus hope I’m not creating the same amount of waste I would by buying bottled water.

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