Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bottled Water: Can This Product Ever be Ethical?

Stephen Newton has a story about the possibility of ethical bottled water.

"Hear! hear!" we say. Our local wholefood megastore has so far been able to offer little coherent argument as to why they sell bottled water. “Because people want to buy it”. Why’s that? “Because they've been traumatised by bad science over tap water and/or grown used to continental indulgence of d’eau! en bouteille”. Doh!

That store is also a bit stumped when asked to explain sensibly why the possible replacement of an Exxon/Esso garage shop with a Tesco garage shop is quite such a disaster as they make out. People want that too. But that's another story.

[wind up]Just wait until Mancs finally get fluoride and save the manky teeth of all future generations. [/wind up]

For any Lib Dems reading: This is a joke. Don’t pretend I’m advocating fluoridation. I’m not. Though I did enjoy the benefits myself and so far no disbenefits. Ga ga ga. (Foams at mouth.)

Stephen's story relates to claims by the Co-op (of which I am a member) for another ethical first. The Co-op's Fairtrade and ethical stance is far ahead of others and you can tell them what you think of that, and their ethical water, by clicking on the box. They have backed "One" and now introduce an ethical own brand made by One and with the same ethical tit for tat.

One was the official water brand for Live8 and Make Poverty History, and is supported by a number of UK celebrities, including David Tennant, the new Dr Who, and the actress Claire Goose.

Just a few issues really. This Wiki entry has all the links:

Plastic recycling only 10% here, worse elsewhere
Tremendous amount of energy/oil used to make bottles
Water is heavy, consider the water miles driving it along roads past reservoirs already piping water to us
Negative effect on ground and surface water
Draining our aquiifers, bringing salt water in, changing ecosystems
Economic status just behind oil and gold.
Privatization (or further privatization) of natural resources
Instances of poisonous products and frauds
Lacking goodness, natural or added
Water with sell by dates because of leaching from plastics
Organic contents may continue to fester

Here's one outstanding paradox:

It also takes water to make a bottle, if a container holds 1 liter it requires 5 liters of water in its manufacturing process (this includes power plant cooling water). The total amount of water used to produce and deliver one bottle of imported water is has been calculated to be 6.74kg
Bottled water? Just say no! Homer says it better:


Anonymous said...


Couldn't agree with you more

Bottled water is the maddest environmental crime that exists

And as for the "wholefoods shop" being so anti-tesco I smell a lot of self interest

Car owning cyclist

Chris Paul said...

Cheers anon

Bottled water is certainly way up there.

But the National Grid isn't too far behind. c 20% efficient. That means five sacks of coal for every one that would be needed by local generation.

Or five times as many wind and wave farms if they're slapped onto the grid.

And don't get me started on unrepairables and throwaways. Cameras with better build quality and photo quality than the old instamatic or brownie - expected to last for oooh 5 minutes.

I may come back to the Tesco Metro ...

Anonymous said...

Bottled water has been sold for 130 years in the UK. Taste the difference, and there is, that's why home brew beer always tastes kak when proper beer is made with spring water.

Chris Paul said...

Of course it can taste different. Unless Coca Cola have just bottled tap water. Sometimes but not always better as well as different.

But the whole thing is a ramp. Ridiculous. The water coming though the pipes and aqueducts from the mountain reservoirs has been drunk for longer and it is generally very good indeed.

The idea of spending £10 or more per head on water per week as some folk do with 5p going to help someone in Kenya is good sense stood on its head. Scrap the bottles and give a £5 and have two pints of lovely scrummy spring beer with the change. And live on tap water.

There was Cocaine in Coca Cola 130 years ago. Shall we get it back in the recipe now? Does that prove anything? Whether the amount was miniscule (as it was) or equivalent (as it was not).

Please consider answering the points in the post. You're not a grumpy grocer in a sulk are you?