News and Document archive source
copyrighted material disclaimer at bottom of page

NewsMinenature-healthenvironment — Viewing Item


Fight persists between tap and bottle drinking water

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)
   http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2008-06-17-tap-bottled-water_N.htm

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2008-06-17-tap-bottled-water_N.htm

Feeling thrifty, the thirsty reach for tap, not bottle
By Tali Arbel, AP Business Writer

Tap water is making a comeback.

With a day's worth of bottled water the recommended 64 ounces costing hundreds to thousands of dollars a year depending on the brand, more people are opting to drink water that comes straight from the sink.

The lousy economy may be accomplishing what environmentalists have been trying to do for years: wean people off the disposable plastic bottles of water that were sold as stylish, portable, healthier and safer than water from the tap.

Heather Kennedy, 33, an office administrator from Austin, Texas, said she used to drink a lot of bottled water but now tries to drink exclusively tap water.

"I feel that (bottled water) is a rip-off," she said in an e-mail. "It is not a better or healthier product than the water that comes out of my tap. It is absurd to pay so much extra for it."

Measured in 700-milliliter bottles of Poland Spring, a daily intake of water would cost $4.41, based on prices at a CVS drugstore in New York. Or $6.36 in 20-ounce bottles of Dasani. By half-liters of Evian, that'll be $6.76. All of which adds up to thousands a year.

Even a 24-pack of half-liter bottles at Costco Wholesale, a bargain at $6.97, would be consumed by one person in six days. That's more than $400 a year.

Compared to water from the tap? A little more than 0.001 cent for a day's worth of water. Based on averages from an American Water Works Association survey, that's just about 51 cents a year.

U.S. consumers spent $16.8 billion on bottled water in 2007, according to the trade publication Beverage Digest, up 12% from the year before. Yet it was the lowest growth rate since the early 1990s, said editor John Sicher.

Coca-Cola Enterprises, the bottler of the biggest brand Dasani, recently cut its outlook for the quarter, saying the weak North American economy is hurting sales of bottled water and soda.

"They're not walking in and spending a dollar plus for a 20-ounce bottle of water," said beverage analyst William Pecoriello at Morgan Stanley. Flavored and "enhanced" waters like vitamin drinks are also eating into plain bottled water's market share.

Pecoriello said Americans' concern about the environment was also a factor, driven by campaigns against the use of oil in making and transporting the bottles, the waste they create and the notion of paying for what is essentially free.

The Tappening Project, which promotes tap water in the U.S. as clean, safe and more eco-friendly than bottled water, launched a new ad campaign in May. The company has also sold more than 200,000 reusable hard plastic and stainless steel bottles since last November.

Linda Schiffman, 56, a recent retiree from Lexington, Mass., bought two metal bottles at $14.50 from Corporate Accountability, a consumer advocate group, after she swore off buying cases of bottled water from Costco.

"I've been doing a lot of cost-cutting since I retired," said Schiffman, a former middle-school guidance counselor. "Additionally, I started feeling like this was a big waste environmentally."

Aware of those concerns, some bottled water makers are trying to address the issue.

Nestle says all its half-liter bottles now come in an "eco-shape" that contains 30% less plastic than the average bottle, and it has pared back other packaging. PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have also cut down on the amount of plastic used in their bottles.

While it is difficult to track rates of tap water use, sales of faucet accessories are booming.

Brita tap water purification products made by Clorox Co. reported double-digit volume and sales growth in May and have seen three straight quarters of strong growth.

Robin Jaeger of Needham, Mass., fills her kids' reusable bottles with water from the house's faucet. But she doesn't use water straight from the tap.

"My kids have come to the conclusion that any water that's not filtered doesn't taste good," she said.

Her reverse-osmosis filter system costs about $200 every 18 months for maintenance still cheaper than buying by the bottle.

Kennedy, the tap convert from Texas, has a filter built into her refrigerator. She also recently bought a reusable aluminum bottle made by Sigg, a Swiss company which has stopped selling its $19.99 metal bottles from its website, saying demand has swamped its supply.

While Brita is the dominant player in water filtration, according to Deutsche Bank analyst Bill Schmitz, sales of P&G's Pur water filtration systems are also growing. Sales from the Pur line have increased almost every month since mid-2007, said Bruce Letz, its brand manager. He declined to give sales figures but said "the water filtration category is expanding very rapidly."

"There's a backlash against the plastic water bottle," Schmitz said.

Cities and businesses, big to small, have also gotten in on the action.

Marriott International distributed free refillable water bottles and coffee mugs to the 3,500 employees at its corporate offices in Bethesda, Md., and installed multiple water filters on every floor. The Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, Calif., got rid of bottled still water in the summer of 2006 and started sparkling its own water in early 2007.

"Does it make sense to bottle water in Italy, trek it to a port, ship it all the way over here, then trek it to our restaurant?" said Chez Panisse general manager Mike Kossa-Rienzi. "We were going through 25,000 bottles a year. ... Someone has to end up recycling them."

Many cities, including New York, have enacted pro-tap campaigns, and some have stopped providing disposable water bottles for government employees.

Chicago started a 5-cent tax on plastic water bottles in January. San Francisco has done away with deliveries of water jugs for office use, instead installing filters and bottle-less dispensers, and banned the purchase of single-serving bottles by city employees with municipal funds. The city has already cut its government water budget in half, to $250,000 a year, said Tony Winnicker, spokesman for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

"It's becoming chic to say, 'Oh no, I don't drink bottled water, I'll have tap water,' " he said.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



autos
elf
forests
global-warming
katrina-hurricane-2005
pollution
whales-beachings
All purpose cleanser for hippies health enthusiasts { December 3 2007 }
Another earth
Bill chill florida as farms replace wetlands
Bush administration deregulates wetlands
Bush supports dam { August 23 2003 }
Caribbean coral suffers record death { March 30 2006 }
Crimes against nature rfk
Deep sea fish wiped out
Democrat energy bill nightmare
Dicaprio { August 12 2002 }
Dolphin beachings came after sub excercises
Environ bush split { June 3 2002 }
Epa decides golf courses better than wetlands { October 31 2003 }
Epa nominee is approved { October 28 2003 }
Epa scraps changes to clean water act { December 17 2003 }
Extinctions feared for many marine species { August 24 2005 }
Federal lands
Fight persists between tap and bottle drinking water
Gop senates push energy bill { July 28 2003 }
How green is bp { December 8 2002 }
Humanity will pay
Humans living far beyond the planets means
Hydrogen fuel cells no solution { August 18 2003 }
Iceberg antartica { May 21 2002 }
Jeb asks why hurricanes keep hitting florida { October 19 2005 }
Judge ruling hurts wolves { February 2 2005 }
National parks raise snowmobile usage limits
Oxygen levels in bay disputed { July 23 2004 }
Ozone hole shrinks
Penguins flock to rio de janeiro { January 18 2001 }
Plant extinction
Plunge in big fish
Possible key to ice age climate change revealed { April 15 2004 }
Quarter extinction
Republicans adopt democrats energy bill { August 1 2003 }
Ruling scraps bush plan limits snowmobiles in yellowstone
Senate votes to open alaska oil drilling
Shuttle commander sees wide environmental damage
Sixth mass extinction disppearing butterflies
Sonar blamed for beached whales { July 23 2004 }
Sun screen lotion hurting coral reefs { May 23 2008 }
Technology save earth
They flattened this mountaintop to find coal { January 16 2005 }
Time bomb
Tsunami death toll tops 226 thousand
Tsunami near japan 16 inces high { October 2006 }
Tsunami near japan expected over 6 ft high { October 2006 }
Vapor trails { August 8 2002 }
Vineyard expansion is hurting the environment { June 21 2004 }
Wetlands loss blamed for freeze in florida
Wind energy could provide 20perc US power { May 13 2008 }
World fish supply may be exhausted by 2050 { November 3 2006 }

Files Listed: 52



Correction/submissions

CIA FOIA Archive

National Security
Archives
Support one-state solution for Israel and Palestine Tea Party bumper stickers JFK for Dummies, The Assassination made simple