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Thread: Is bottled water unethical?

  1. #1

    Default Is bottled water unethical?

    Recently my university union stopped selling bottled water, in response to a student vote against selling it. The union provides free cooled water taps (no cups though).

    Now we're voting on other motions, including one to bring the sale of bottled water back.

    It got me thinking! I certainly think that bottled water is stupid; tap water is just as good, and pretty much free! I generally buy a bottle of charity water (profits go the charity), and then re-use that bottle until... well until it goes missing and then I buy another bottle.

    But is bottled water unethical?

    The motion to bring back the sale of bottled water points out that fizzy water is still for sale, which I do agree is silly! If still water is banned... surely those who prefer it fizzy can't justify their negative impact on the environment by arguing that their want for fizzy water is more important, can they?
    I think people complain about bottled water a lot, but not really about other drinks. The wasted plastic of bottles of pop is just as bad, perhaps it shouldn't just be the still water drinkers who need to switch to tap water? What makes drinking bottled water so much worse than drinking bottled coke?
    Obviously coke is a different drink, but if we're talking about just a casual drink of something at lunch time, is it really that different?

    I personally believe (after only a day of thinking, admittedly) that if we are able to criticise still water drinkers for not switching to tap, then we ought not to single them out. I think there's a danger of being hypocritical otherwise.

    What do you think?


  2. #2

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    I disagree. Tap water is gross. Some bottled water is actually just tap water, it is also gross. Real Canadian Natural Spring Water isn't tap water. It tastes completely different and I like it.

    I think re-selling tap water in a bottle is unethical, but spring water NEEDS to be bottled for transportation.

  3. #3
    Asher

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    Interesting question you bring up; you made me remember a story! A girl that I had gone on a date with a while back was an environmentalist (tree hugger extreme here...not saying that there's anything wrong with tree huggers!), and I remember her asking me why I had bought a bottle of water when we went to the concession stand at the movies. I had never really thought about it before; it was just second nature to get a bottle of water. I remember her giving me a run down on why it was bad, and she made a valid argument. I don't really remember her exact points, but I remember thinking it was valid and convincing.

    On a completely different note, I just looked at some articles on it (considering your thread made me think of it again), and I'm sorry to say that most of them are rather biased (the article was funded by an environmentally friendly organization, etc.). Yea, bottled water seems a tad...how can I say this... not environmentally friendly.

    As I type this, there's a case of Arrowhead water in the corner of my kitchen right now (I have a feeling of guilt setting in just looking at it), and the one word that comes to mind is: convenience. I think that's why a lot of people still buy bottled water: for convenience (even though tap water is even MORE convenient) and because it has become second nature for people. Ah, the beauty of marketing - we have bought into the idea that we need this bottled water when in all honesty, we don't. Marketing tends to do that... convince us that we need things that we don't really need... Its something that we as consumers have to realize ourselves whether we really need something or not. Do we need bottled water? No...we really don't.

    And man, the more I think about it, the more I want to stop buying bottled water haha!

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephiel View Post
    I disagree. Tap water is gross. Some bottled water is actually just tap water, it is also gross. Real Canadian Natural Spring Water isn't tap water. It tastes completely different and I like it.
    It's actually all in your head. We can't taste water. There's an experiment you can do; Fill up three plastic bottles with tap water. Label one "Fiji Water", another "Real Canadian Spring Water", and the last one "Tap water" and get people to taste test each one.

  5. #5
    Denton

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    I am not an environmentalist. I am OK with them, but am not one. I do drink bottled water, as long as it's well chilled. Took me a while to get turned onto it, but now I can't stand tap.

    The way I see it, the earth will be around, and in plenty decent shape, until I am dead. I have no kids, and will not have kids, so I need not worry about the succeeding generation.

    Sorry if this offends, but this is where I stand. Extremism on this plank never did anyone any good.

  6. #6

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    Tap water is just consciously water that we just assume we can't trust. In America though, we call it Aquafina. I use water bottles all the time and I know that subconsciously it is a waste in making and throwing them away due to their factors in the environment. Apparently though, they also cause smoker's lips! I know I am doing bad to the environment but I would lose a reusable water bottle and tap water is just... eh.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chillhouse View Post
    It's actually all in your head. We can't taste water. There's an experiment you can do; Fill up three plastic bottles with tap water. Label one "Fiji Water", another "Real Canadian Spring Water", and the last one "Tap water" and get people to taste test each one.
    Actually, I DID do this. There was this one brand... Can't remember, I have a bottle in the fridge. I drank it and was like "Aw, wtf? Tastes like tap" and I read the label... it WAS tap water

    So yeah, not all water is the same.

  8. #8

    Default

    I buy bottled water, but mostly use my Pur pitcher that I keep in the fridge. My tap water smells of chlorine, and tastes horrible. After I run it through the pitcher, its great. Think what you like, but there is a difference between tap water and bottled water. Some of it is filtered tap water, and other is not. If you get a bottle of Aquifina, Dasani, and Zeypherhills, you can taste the difference.

    I buy the bottled water for when I'm going on a trip, or to keep in the truck. Maybe its wrong to buy the stuff, but I dunno. Agreed, its a bit wasteful. Lately when I go to the gym, I have a reusable bottle that I fill out of my pitcher, and enjoy.

  9. #9
    angelabauer

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    The same arguments against bottled water have been applied to all kinds of packaged food products going back to the era when "U-Needa Biscuits" revolutionized the cracker trade before 1900. They started selling crackers wrapped in wax paper inside a cardboard carton. By 1912 the traditional cracker barrel in stores was obsolete. There is a line about all that early in "The Music Man"

    I know Coca Cola makes Dasani Water. That is the starting point of all Coca Cola flavored drinks. It is made from the tap water available at each bottling plant. From the tap that water is purified and flavored so it tastes like Dasani Water everywhere else.

    Probably the tap water leaving the water plant is safe to drink. However, after going through countless miles of pipes under streets, then hundreds of feet of plumbing inside buildings, that water might well be contaminated.

    Case in point, all the court buildings in Downtown Los Angeles, CA USA have signs at their drinking fountains warning the water is known to be unsafe.

    Are people judging me because in those buildings I drink bottled water? Which of us have a personal chem and bio lab available to prove the safety of the tap water in our homes and work places?

    Besides, I like the taste of Dasani, preferring it to AquaFina, the same concept made by Pepsi. Yes, I can taste the difference.

  10. #10

    Default

    The same rule would only apply if we could get taps with soda. Which would be quite awesome.


    Water definitely does taste different. When in Florida, I remember their bottled water (Zephyrhills) tasted terrible but the tap water tasted amazingly awesome. I do agree that you should drink water through a tap whenever possible though (with your own filter).

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