January 26, 2009
The War on Bottled Water
People are starting to get it: tap water was named one of the top 10 food trends of 2008 (Time article), one of the top 10 green stories by Grist (Grist article), and Zagat says tap water is in and designer water is out. I recently asked our administration to eliminate the purchasing of bottled water for law school functions -- although there wasn't immediate affirmation, at least I didn't get laughed out of the office. Willamette University President Lee Pelton is considering having a University-wide ban on University purchasing of bottle water.
In 1992's The Player, Tim Robbins' character, the consummate Hollywood insider, showed his sophistication at restaurants through his ability to differentiate among various kinds of bottled water. But today, that same Hollywood macher would never ask for anything but tap. Because of the environmental costs of producing and shipping bottled waters, more and more chefs are offering only filtered tap water to customers. Mario Batali and his business partner Joseph Bastianich stopped selling bottled water at their New York City restaurants Del Posto and Otto earlier this year, and eateries in Florida and Massachusetts are also serving only tap. The U.S. Conference of Mayors voted in June to recommend that City Halls stop serving bottled water even at special functions. Once hip, bottled water is now unforgivably '90s.
Oh, for PETE's slake
Bottled water loses its luster
This was the year that America's love for bottled water finally began to dry up. Tests conducted by the Environmental Working Group and others found chemicals and other contaminants in leading brands. Thanks in large part to a campaign launched in late 2007 called Think Outside the Bottle, the U.S. Conference of Mayors resolved in June to phase out bottled-water spending. Calls for bottle bans came from college campuses, touring bands, and London Mayor Ken Livingstone. Restaurants organized a tap-instead week to benefit Unicef. And amidst all the H2O-pla, the growth in bottled-water sales dribbled to a fraction of its former self.
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