- a blog about food and value

Bottled water sales decline

water-coolerOne of the many depressing things about this current recession is hearing about the decline in the sales of all kinds of good things: Fairtrade food, organic food, food from small independent producers.  But there’s one decline in sales that has a positive side, and that’s the slump in the sales of bottled water.

There’s very little that can be said in defence of bottled water. Its production and transport generate an extravagant carbon footprint, and discarded plastic water bottles account for a very large proportion of waste in landfill.

There’s also the sheer pointlessness of it: most bottled water in Ireland is perfectly safe to drink (except for the occasional cryptosporidium outbreak, as Galway had a couple of years ago).  The bottled water habit has meant that there are now hardly any public drinking fountains left, which means we have to buy bottled water if we’re out and want a drink, in the style of those pesky self-perpetuating problems.  And then there’s the squirmy ethical problem of spending money on unneccessary drinking water when a huge proportion of people in developing countries don’t have access to any clean water at all.

Do you filter your water, refill and reuse your water bottles, and ask for tap water in restaurants?  How do you feel about bottled water?


  1. This is the one thing about the recession I’ll be glad of! Unless drunk for the added minerals and other stuff, bottled water is no better than tap. Just buy a filter jug if you don’t like the taste of tap water. I only buy it when I have to, i.e when I’m out and I forgot to fill my bottle. Restaurant bottled water is such a con, you should be offered tap water without having to ask

  2. I’m not sure about here, but in the UK it’s law that restaurants must provide water from the tap if requested and at no extra charge. As for bottled water, you’re right. It’s a complete con.

  3. well.. i personally just put tap water into a used soft drink/ mineral water bottle and bung it in the fridge.. i’m not a fan of water straight from the tap but once very cold from the fridge its abs fine!

    my parents live where there was a water scare a while ago and it’s an issue w old pipes.. they’ve taken a decision to buy bottled but, eh, none of yer expensive ballygowan/ evian/ volvic in our house.. they buy the tesco stuff at 36c a 2l bottle..
    i wouldn’t be sure of the ethics of that water but its more out of necessity they go bottled while not shelling out for the ‘spensive stuff

  4. As someone who is dealing with the predatory tactics of Nestle Waters of North America right here in my home town (mountains of northern California), I’m glad to see the market declining.

    The company treads heavily on rural communities (the source of its spring water bottling plants), and increased demand for their product was spurring more pumping.

  5. I’d love to be able to drink tap water, but here there’s so much chlorine in it that it tastes like drinking a glass of bleach. Even filtered it’s vile.

  6. I always ask for tap water in restaurants, because I see bottled water as a pointless expense when perfectly acceptable tap water is provided. It was very nice though to have a Ballygowan water cooler in the last office I worked in. My boss flipped when he found out that I was watering the office plants with ballygowan water! I have to say the plants thrived, whatever it was.

  7. I do drink bottled water, even though im a student and shouldnt really be wasting money on such things. The water in my buiding (UCD campus) is horrendous. Its not always clear, it has a chalky appearance. I’m certain that its not harmful but cloudy water is very off putting. I drink it boiled in tea and coffee and buy bottled for straight drinking.

  8. is there any proof that dioxin is present in plastic bottled water? i would like to know because in my own country NIGERIA ,our only source of sure clean water is packaged in plastics bottles,plastic satchet,plastic jars,
    Under our weather temperature of 33 degrees centigrade or even higher, the water is transported for sale in open trucks where they (packages) are further heated up by the scorching sun. so are we safe at all from this so called breast cancer agent called DIOXIN?