Ban Bottled Water?

We’re big fans of tap water here at MOST.  We’ve spent 40 years in this industry, and we understand the many layers of safeguards and regulations in place that ensure our tap water is healthful.  On top of that, it is remarkably convenient and cheap!  (Please, no comments from “The Peanut Gallery” about my fiscally-frugal Scot heritage!)

How cheap is it?  Let’s look at last month’s water bill.  We paid about $34 for 1500 cubic feet.  That includes every line item, including State taxes and fees (which are considerable!)  They don’t sell bottled water in cubic feet, so let’s convert that to the cost per 500 mL — the volume of a typical bottle of water. That equates to about 0.04 cents per 500 mL bottle.  In California, we pay the State five cents for the bottle!  How much does a bottle of Dasani or Crystal Geyser or Arrowhead go for these days?  It’s a lot more than the bottle cost!

Tap water is a tremendous bargain, and its quality is arguably superior to that of bottled water — largely due to the quality impacts of that plastic bottle.  But let’s ignore that and call them even in terms of quality for this discussion; we’ll save the quality discussion for another day.

There is a developing trend to ban bottled water.  And it’s not rooted in the economics we discussed above.  Instead, it is concern over the amount of plastic getting out of the trash bins and into the environment.  See:

To our somewhat Libertarian way of thinking, this is akin to banning food because it might cause obesity.  We’re not fans of bottled water, or of littering or wanton destruction of our environment, but do we really need to ban bottled water?

MOST considers tap water to be far superior in value over bottled water, so we look forward to the competition in the market place, and we’re confident of victory!  Please don’t ban our only competition!


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