One 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?