Issue Date: January 11, 2008
Americans have turned more and more to bottled water in recent years in their quest to maintain health and conquer thirst. In 2007, they spent an estimated $15 billion on a bevy of varieties of H2O. They are expected to increase their purchases to $16 billion in 2008. The market has grown so much that many stores offer a veritable paradise of choices. Some bottled water comes from springs nearby; some is flown in from thousands of miles away. Some has a high style quotient and is bottled with bubbles or a light fruity taste. Some is nothing more than tap water flowing through a municipal system. A few brands, usually from Europe, are bottled in glass, but most come in plastic. All of it is pricey, more expensive than gasoline, and the fact that it is healthier than a can of soda is a selling point thats hard to beat.
If, for the practically minded, it is hard to understand the allure of paying for something that is often is nearly free (and often higher quality) at home, well, thats where perception comes in. Lured by corporate marketing and packaging, Americans have learned to like bottled waters aura of status and safety, combined with the ever-popular element of convenience.
Further, for the last decade or so, a mantra in the worlds of sports, health and personal appearance has been hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. People seeking everything from well-functioning muscles to well-tuned brains to more youthful complexions have tried to consume the 64 ounces of daily water that some experts advised.
As a result, bottled water is everywhere, from backpacks to corporate conference rooms. Environmentalists calling for change, including many in the Catholic church, want aficionados to consider some basic facts, provided by groups that track the environmental impact of bottled water:
-- Laura Lloyd
National Catholic Reporter, January 11, 2008
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