I broke another one of my policies recently. You see, I have a strict policy against buying bottled water. Why? First of all, the expense is ridiculous. The cost of one American’s average daily bottled water consumption over the course of a year could supply an entire Kenyan family with drinking water for TEN years. The United Nations estimates that if given just 1/6th of the money spent on bottled water for one year, $15 billion, they could cut in half the number of people in the world without access to clean water.
And then there’s this: Bottles used to package water take more than 1,000 years to bio-degrade and if incinerated, they produce toxic fumes. It’s estimated that more than 80% of all single-use water bottles used in the U.S. aren’t recycled and simply become trash. Additionally, it takes more than 1.5 million barrels of oil to meet the demand of U.S. water bottle manufacturing. And that doesn’t even count the fossil fuel and emissions costs of greenhouse gases needed to transport the final product to market.
So Evian may be as pure and crisp as an alpine stream, but to me it tastes like waste and greed.
Right about now, you might be thinking to yourself, “Wait a minute, I’ve been to your house and there was all kinds of bottled water in the fridge.” Nope. That was tap water in an Evian bottle. Gotcha! So now you’re probably thinking, “Well, why did you have the Evian bottles in the first place, then, little miss smarty-pants?” Well, when you live in a country where the power lines are still quaintly strung from poles instead of buried safely underground, trees tend to fall on the lines during storms and your power gets cut. You’d be surprised how often this happens, actually. Anyway, when the power gets cut, the water pump no longer works and you can find yourself without water for up to two days. So it’s a good idea to have some emergency water on hand for washing, brushing your teeth, not dehydrating, etc. And when the bottles are empty, we fill them up with tap water and use them to bring water to the gym, to the beach and on picnics and such.
Anyway, as you can see, I have strong feelings on the water issue and was disappointed in myself for buying eight bottles of it the other day. Why did I do it? I’m a little ashamed to say. Psychiatrists say that 90 percent of human behavior is motivated by sex, but I don’t find that to be the case. I’d say that the majority of my behavior is driven by:
1. A desire to be liked (just by some people, not everyone)
2. A desire to be left alone (again, just by some people, not everyone)
My bottled water purchases fell into that last category.
You see, we once had a houseguest who made a comment about how few brands of bottled water there were in France. We told him that, on the contrary, the number of different brands of French bottled water was nearly overwhelming and that the bottled water aisle at the grocery store takes up more room than any other section except for wine. He must not have believed us, though, because he mentioned our nation’s sad lack of brand name water several more times over the course of his visit.
So, with another visit from this friend coming up, we decided that, as a joke, we’d buy a bunch of bottled water in a bunch of different brands, and present each bottle as if it were wine. This St. Georges eau de source was bottled in Corsica and has a clear, watery taste with topnotes of total nothingness. Can I pour you a glass? We thought this gag would illustrate France’s dominance in the bottled water industry (spite) and also get a laugh out of our friend. And we sort of had to buy some bottled water for the guy anyway, since he doesn’t trust tap water and we try to do all we can to make our guests feel at home, even when it means having to break a policy.
But his trip got canceled at the last minute, so now we’re stuck with a bunch of bottled water that doesn’t even taste as good as the stuff from our tap (which is from a well fed by a subterranean spring). So here’s what I’m going to do: Because the water/wine comparison isn’t really all that far-fetched and because each brand of water really does have its own distinctive taste, I’m going to taste-test each one (as the occasion to open a bottle presents itself) and write a review of it here on my blog. I’m also going to multiply the total cost of this water by five and donate the amount to The Water Project, a charity dedicated to bringing clean water to developing nations (see behavior motivation #4).
Want to do the same? Click here: www.thewaterproject.org