Bottled Water: as Terrible as We Suspected

Despite bottlers' green claims, Swiss study says that their impact is 1,000 times as great as tap.

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File this news under "obviously." A comparison of the environmental effects of tap water versus bottled water by the Swiss Gas and Water Association, as reported by Treehugger today, states what we've long suspected: The environmental impact of bottledwater is up to 1,000 times as bad as that of tap water. Not to mention the effect on your wallet: Cases of bottled water add up, while the cost of clean, safe tap water (where your bottled water often comes from) is negligible, when you consider that most of what the water utility companies bill us for goes down a sink, washing machine, or shower drain.

But I won't tell you yet another thing that you already know. Instead, let's look at the ways that the bottled water industry is trying to revamp its image. The most prominent example is Fiji Green, whose ads I see each morning as I walk to work. The company, mindful of the bad rep of its product, announced its decision to go green months ago, and has put out literature and a website touting itself as "carbon negative," despite shipping water in plastic bottles halfway across the Earth. But wouldn't the most eco-friendly solution be for Fiji Water...not to exist? I'm obviously not the first or only person to raise the point. And other brands have followed suit. One wonders how, or if, the Fiji spin team will react to the Swiss study—or if they'll ever be called out for greenwashing, as Fiat and EasyJet were in their recent scolding by Britain's Advertising Standards Authority.

So, does the now official proof that bottled water is bad make you think twice when you head to the vending machine? Or will convenience always rule?

Tell us: What are your feelings on bottled water?

There are worse things for the environment, so who cares if I drink bottled water?
I buy bottled water if it's labeled as "green."
I buy bottled water, but I always feel really bad about it.
I keep a reusable water bottle with me and fill it up at the tap.
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