Why Do We Spend Too Much on Water?

Editor, News-Register:

Humans are, by nature, creatures of habit. We love to follow set patterns, methods, and techniques in our day to day lives. It is also the reason change, in any form, can be frightening to so many individuals. Habit allows an established culture and society to continue to exist for centuries. However, habit also prevents us from taking a deep look at the world around us to see its faults or schemes — schemes that swindle the unaware consumer out of over eight billion dollars annually without any complaints or fuss to be heard.

Can you guess what I am talking about? It is one of the greatest and most profitable scams of the last 30 years. That would be bottled water. Think about it, water makes up 60 percent of the human body and is a necessity for our daily survival. Water makes up two-thirds of the Earth’s surface and is available in every modern household. Did I mention this water is almost completely free?

Pray tell, why are millions of people shelling out their hard-earned paychecks to purchase something they do not need and is available, in great plenty, for nothing? If that does not show the efficiency of capitalism, I do not know what will. It is one of the most ingenious marketing ploys in history, with $60 million a year going into advertising these products. There is water sold specifically to women, a $60,000 bottle made of solid gold, and water imported from Japan and France for supposed restorative properties. Who says snake oil salesmen no longer exist?

Why do sensible people buy this malarkey? Convenience? You are able to buy reusable glasses to hold your water and there are many public fountains that provide nice, clean H2O to refill it.

Cleanliness? The regulations for bottled water in the U.S. are actually less than tap water. In addition, a new scientific study has just hit the headlines that shows microscopic pieces of plastic are in most brands of bottled water. There is no knowledge of whether or not long-term health problems are caused from this, but it is still a cause for concern.

Price? After all, the monthly water bill can be pricey. Yet, that expense comes from using water to wash clothes and bathe in addition to consumption. If a person drank eight glasses of water every day annually, the total cost would amount to around $200. The same amount of tap water costs 33 cents or over 600 times less! Even if you are still concerned, you can buy a solid filter for your tap water that will give you peace of mind and more money in your pockets.

Taste? Many studies and surveys have shown that consumers cannot detect a difference between the flavor of plain bottled and tap water. In all of these cases, bottled water is the same or inferior quality to tap water and far more expensive.

Finally, there is the damage caused by plastic bottles to the environment. Over a million bottles are used and thrown out every minute globally. Only a fraction of these are recycled. Where do the rest go? The plastic goes into our oceans, our landfills, and into the entire ecosystem. One, trash is simply unappealing to look at and no one enjoys adding landfills. Second, this plastic harms the plants and animals that provide our products and food. Incinerating the bottles simply produces dangerous toxic fumes. Third, three times as much water is used making the bottles than what is actually in them! When you have people in other nations who are starving or dying from unsafe or simply no water, why are we wasting so much?

Well then, how about situations where clean water is not available? You have me there. In situations like natural disasters, bottled water is better than no water, but how often do those happen to you? Enough for our nation to spend billions of dollars a year on it, I certainly hope not! Besides, spending some extra money now on better public tap water services will ensure people will get enough to drink and save billions long term. Who does not love a win-win?

I do not believe that people here are callous enough to not care about what happens to other people or the world we live in. I just believe that they have only heard what the companies tell them to buy their products. Even if none of the environmental issues bother you, what about the waste to your pocketbook? Listen, if you want, give me a call at 1-800-Tap-Water and sell you the best tap water ever for only 10 cents a gallon! Please bring your own jugs. What’s next? Will we be buying fresh air and sunshine?

Robert Lally

John Hamman

Wheeling

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