Bottled water is not a sin.

But it is a choice.

So ends a very thought provoking Message in a Bottle by Charles Fishman and published in FastCompany more than a month ago.

I ended up writing “Missing the Water: Now” for the Floyd Press column back in August, but it was the issue of bottled water that I had thought I would be focusing on, and not the global drinking water shortage, present and future. So this post points to the “acting locally” part of that “thinking globally” issue, I guess you might say.

Now, having  been exposed in recent travels to water-drinkers in airport terminals and shopping malls and finding Evian filling my own daughter’s refrigerator, the issue rises to the top once again.

This FastCompany piece was one that ended up in my notebook with more highlighted paragraphs than not, so I’ll be hard pressed to extract tiny gulps from this essay that overflows with bottled water facts and stats, as well as the moral and environmental consequences of that personal choice. If you have any pangs of conscience regarding the ethics of your thirst-and-perceptions-driven consumerism, read Message in a Bottle.

Then (by the same title!) make a choice from among eight different reusable bottles that might carry the water of your future. But let the buyer beware: check carefully when buying plastic. The jury is still out on safety with regards to some plastics. Your run of the mill bottled water bottle however, gets very bad marks indeed, and the practice in my house of refilling used soft drink bottles has got to stop.


About fred

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

6 comments:

  1. Water in bottles have been a pet peeve of mine. It’s a fight I continue with my family to this day. I cannot win because they cannot “see” the problem.

    I do fill plastic orange juice bottles with water for the “icebox”. It’s a sturdier plastic and seems to be manufactured to withstand the acidity of the juice.

  2. I believe that bottled water in most instances is a sin, ie. a poor moral choice with repercussions. Water in a bottle is the ultimate marketing ploy; selling something unnecessary that is free anyways. Bottled water uses plastic and oil and burdens our transport and waste systems. The perception, fostered by bottled water companies, that public water supplies might be unsafe could become a self fullfilling prophecy.

  3. Thanx for this post. This one was good for me to read. (C’mon! All of them are good for me to read. I just mean I really needed the lesson in this one.)

  4. Water in bottles have been a pet peeve of mine. It’s a fight I continue with my family to this day. I cannot win because they cannot “see” the problem. BAAAAAAWW.

    I do fill plastic orange juice bottles with water for the “icebox”. It’s a sturdier plastic and seems to be manufactured to withstand the acidity of the juice.

  5. looks like we both got hit from the anonymous mormon! except mine didn’t leave a live link….

    but i agree about plastic bottles… we usually keep one pack around for emergencies or travel, but we use re-usable for everyday and just drink filtered water from our tap.

  6. I must admit I buy bottled water…………..My pet peeve is the plastic bags in the grocery stores & the malls…………they are overflowing the landfills and the waterways……………When I was in the Galapagos Islands back in 2004, we plucked plastics out of the waters which could be deadly to the sea lions & birds. Just think of all the plastic items infiltrating our waterways & the damage it does to waterfowl. I always request paper when asked “paper or plastic” & reuse the bags……..Does this help my environment? I don’t know, but I try………

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