Bottled Water Nazis and Big BeverageSaturday, January 26, 2013
Opposition to bottled water seem to be the trend nowadays, in order to prove one’s devotion to the environment. Just recently, Concord, MA banned the sale of single-serving water bottles from vending machines, restaurants, and stores. [Big eye roll]
I even have friends who, for some bizarre reason or another, can’t stand the fact that people buy plastic bottles of water. These friends don’t just opt out; they spend precious energy hating the product. They tell me that bottled water is single largest chunk of litter in the streets (these are their own anecdotal, biased, guesstimate “studies”).
Well, I too observe litter, and most litter is paper and cardboard that comes from industrial food – snacks, candy, convenience food, and fast food. In addition, the bottles that litter the landscape of America are mostly representative of beverage bottles from the Big Food industry- soda, energy drinks, sugar waters sold as “healthy” vitamin waters, sugar-laced teas, “fruit” juices, etc., etc. Not plain water.
True, bottled water sales are up, and it should be celebrated that the sugar-addicted masses are turning away from the poisons churned out by Big Beverage and they are instead going back to drinking life-sustaining, healthy water. The Bottled Water Nazis always base their anti-bottle arguments on the fact that bottled water has a massive eco-footprint as compared to the government’s fluoridated tap water. That said, why is it that the bottled water haters aren’t raging against the commercial beverages that line the shelves of every store and gas station and vending machine in America, in the same eco-unfriendly plastic bottles? Oh, say the bottled water haters, but bottled water has an alternate choice in that people in the civilized parts of the world can easily access the government’s clean (in their view) tap water.
First, “clean” is subjective to the individual, depending upon one’s view of being fluoridated and chlorinated on a daily basis. Second, the multitude of addictive, high-margin, sugar-laden poisons masquerading as soft drinks also have that same alternate choice of government tap water.
So again, why the asinine war on bottled water? Could it be that the American Beverage Industry and their assorted ilk are just too powerful? Could it be because just three omnipotent firms – with a large role in the corporate state – control almost 90% of the soft drink industry? Consider this study from a Michigan State University Professor (note his impressive graphics of the soft drink industry structure):
We recorded 993 varieties of soft drinks. These were sold under 195 brands, and 101 parent companies. Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group offer 407 of these varieties (41%). The top 50 varieties were found in more than half of all stores, and were owned by just the top 8 firms. In contrast, over 300 varieties were found in only one store each.
The addictive properties of sugar (and its artificial replacements) and artificial flavors are understood by scientists. As folks have come to understand this, soda sales have been dropping, as reported in recent years. This is why the Big Three soda companies and other Big Food giants – such as Nestle – are quickly getting into the water market, and with all kinds of gimmicks beyond just plain water. Think Vitamin Water. [Triple eye roll here]
People who want to ban others from having what they hate tend to fall back often on the argument that bottled water is a “overpriced” because, well, it’s just … water. These arguments often insist there is an objective element to “overpriced.” And the assorted beverages of the soft drink industry, that are manufactured with heavily subsidized and cheap ingredients, aren’t overpriced? Price is subjective to each individual, of course, yet I keep reading these articles about “overpriced” bottled water and why it needs to be banned. To me, any shoot-’em-up video game, even at 80% discount, is overpriced. To another, that same game is worth the full price and more. I’ll criticize that which I deem boorish or overpriced, but to advocate for a “ban” is a coercive act.
Ultimately, it always comes down to what really bites the banners in the behind: the denial of dependency on government and institutions. Here’s a quote from banthebottle.net:
“Bottled water is a symbol of our culture’s obsession with commodifying things that should be public trust resources,” she says.