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The Green Life: Drowning In Bottled Water

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June 01, 2011

Drowning In Bottled Water

Bottled water Where do you get your water: tap, filter, or bottle? If you're sipping on plastic, you're not alone. Americans bought more bottled water in 2010 than in 2009, according to a press release from the International Bottled Water Association. We drank 8.75 billion gallons of the stuff, up from 8.45 billion. 

But if the jump in sales surprises you, you're also not alone. In the last few years, anti-bottle campaigns have popped up across the nation. College campuses are installing "hydration stations" and entire towns are banning bottled water. So why the spike?

The IBWA says that the improving economy means more people can afford disposable bottled water. The industry group pats itself on the back for "luring consumers away from other packaged beverages" by making bottled water seem "wholesome."

Many bottled water companies, like Coca-Cola's Dasani, actually just sell filtered tap water and market it as being eco-friendly. This type of greenwashing has repercussions: Last week, a California court dismissed a lawsuit claiming that Fiji misled consumers with its “Every Drop Is Green” slogan.

Bottled-water companies rely on images of purity and pristine nature to get people to buy. But since bottled water is no healthier than tap water, perhaps the industry also wants its customers to stay . . . "Evian" backwards.

If you're wondering about the water in your neighborhood, you can check your ZIP code in the Environmental Working Group's National Drinking Water Database.

--Mimi Dwyer

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