Bottled Water:
A Positive Concept with Negative Effect
How did it get popular?

  • Bottled water is thought of as higher quality
  • "Designer water"
    • Maven: those who drank Perrier water in the 1980s
    • People with higher incomes are more likely to regularly purchase bottled water
    • Connector: advertisements for bottled water often feature well-known celebrities (see below*)
  • The role of plastic
    • PET became readily available in the early 1990s
      • It is lighter, cheaper, and clearer than the previously used plastic
    • PET made bottled water much more convenient and profitable to manufacture
    • Salesmen: Coke and Pepsi quickly began their own bottled water brands
      • Both already had very successful influence in the market and pushed bottled water upon the public
  • Our healthy society
    • The Power of Context: Healthiness became increasingly popular after 2000
    • Bottled water is a no-calorie beverage
    • Salesmen: fitness enthusiasts and nutritionists endorse drinking eight cups of water a day and are often pictured with bottled water
  • Convenience
    • The Stickiness Factor: America is highly attracted to things which make life easier (cell phones, dishwashers, singly-packaged items, etc.)

*An Aquafina commercial using famous baseball coach, Lou Piniella
Why is it bad?

  • Environmental Drawbacks
    • 80 percent of the 28 billion water bottles sold each year end up in landfills and are not recycled

    • In 2006 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide were released into the atmosphere from the manufacture, transport, and storage of bottled water
    • Bottled water is often taken from municipal water sources (wells, lakes, oceans, etc.)
      • Because the manufacture of bottled water requires so much of the liquid, the industry could dry up wetlands, lakes, and other bodies of water and also cause damage to oceanic ecosystems
  • Economic drawbacks
    • It is estimated that in 2006 it took 17 million barrels of oil just for the manufacture, transport, and storage of the bottled water which was consumed by Americans that year
      • Excessive oil consumption like this raises the price per gallon, making the average consumer pay more at the pump
    • 45 percent of bottled water is actually processed tap water, enabling large corporations (like Coke and Pepsi) to make very large profits
      • Funneling of money into the hands of large corporations is unreasonable and unnecessary during the recent economic crisis
  • Personal drawbacks

    • Although bottled water is marketed as "pure" and "healthy," it can contain elevated levels of arsenic, some bacteria, and other harmful chemicals

"Companies that market bottled water as being safer than tap water are defrauding the American public." ~The Food and Drug Administration
How can its popularity be decreased?

There are two approaches which can be taken:
  • Stop the spread of bottled water
    • This would be extremely difficult to do
      • We cannot prevent bottled water from being advertised or pictured in our media
      • We cannot prevent influential people drom drinking bottled water in public
      • We cannot prevent people from endorsing bottled water - even if their endorsements may not be true
  • Stop the stickiness of bottled water
    • This could be possible
      • Endorsing water filtration systems for home faucets would make people feel that they are still drinking clean water
      • Endorsing stainless steel water bottles still ensures the convenience of the plastic disposable bottle

      • Help from corporations (coupons, freebies, cut prices, etc.) would magnify the popularity-decreasing effect