Monday, August 13, 2007

P.W.S.? Puh-leeze!

I'll admit it. Having just ordered a cool aluminum bottle to carry it around in, I'm a newly baptized tap water snob.

I'm lucky. I live in New England, and our water tap water is downright excellent. So, in fact, is our most prominent brand of non-tap water, Poland Springs, which actually does spring from Poland Springs - not from the tap of someone who happens to live, say, in Poland, Maine. (A few years back, a local TV outlet ran an exposé on some of the bottled waters available locally. They traced back the source of one of them - which had a name something akin to "Vermont Pure Mountain Glen" - and found that it's headwaters were located in the bathtub in someone's three-decker flat in the Dorchester section of Boston.)

So I'm amused to see all the brouhaha over Pepsi's Aquafina, which is being pushed into changing its labels to more cleanly and crisply spell out that its mighty fina aqua comes from the tap.

They've apparently had the P.W.S. designation on the bottle for years. Now they're going to write it out for us: Public Water Source.

As reported in an article I saw on, an outfit called Corporate Accountability International:

...has been pressuring bottled water sellers to curb what it calls misleading marketing practices. The group has criticized PepsiCo over its blue Aquafina label with a mountain logo as perpetuating the misconception that the water comes from spring sources.

They're also pushing Coca-Cola/Dasani, and Nestle Pure Life to come clean as to their sources, too - apparently without much luck.

The beverage providers, of course, defend themselves by pointing out that the water they bottle up is "purified," but I'm sure they're all alarmed about all this scrutiny. Bottled water is BIG BUSINESS - the wholesale figure for 2006 is $11B.

Once people figure out that they can get equally good water from their tap, or - if they really want to purify it - equally purified  water using a Brita Filter - they'll start cutting back on all those plastic bottles.

I've cranked about this over on Pink Slip, but I'll do it again here: all those plastic bottles being shipped around, chilled in freezers, and dumped in landfill, are NOT GOOD FOR US.

Yes, sometimes it's convenient and/or necessary to buy the bottled water. But keep reminding yourself that the environment, your pocketbook, and even your own personal body, is better off drinking out of a metal bottle or a glass.

I'm glad that the bottled water folks will be putting the "public water source" info on their bottles. Maybe it will get people to think a bit more about what they're drinking, and the container they're drinking it from.

As for the complaints that Aquafina's mountain logo leads people to think they're drinking from a pure source? I'm willing to grant them marketing license. Come on now, what bottled water marketing person worth his weight in salt water is going to put a a kitchen sink or a Kohler tap on their label?


If you want to read more ranting on bottled water, here's a link to a post on Pink Slip.

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