The Living Thing / Notebooks :

Waste, and the late capitalist industrial metabolism

The weirdness of packaged products

In which bottled water is shot:

Bottled water is awful:

Boycotting bottled water means you support the idea that public access to clean, safe water is not only a basic human right, but that it’s a goddamn technological triumph worth protecting. It means you believe that ensuring public access to this resource is the only way to guarantee it will be around in a few more years.

Clean, safe drinking water that flows freely out of our faucets is a feat of engineering that humans have been been perfecting for two millennia. It is a cornerstone of civilization. It is what our cities are built upon. And over the years the scientists and hydrologists and technicians who help get water to our houses have also become our environmental stewards, our infrastructural watchdogs, our urban visionaries. Drinking the water these people supply to our homes is the best possible way to protect future access to water worldwide.[…]

And yet, sell it we do, because we would be fools not to. People buy it and we make bank on it. We’re in no position to just leave that money on the table.

But the water thing, it causes fights and grief pretty regularly. Someone will ask the bartender for a cup of water. They reply: “We sell bottles, or there are free water fountains over there.” Most of the time, that person hates the idea of water fountains so much that they just pay for the bottle. Ka-ching.

But sometimes they instead try to grab a cup, and the bartender has to explain to them that cups are not free. (In fact, that cup costs us almost as much as the bottle of water does!) Sometimes this results in yelling, and someone getting thrown out.

[…]But:

Banning bottled water increases sales of robot sweat:

The bottled water ban did not reduce the number of bottles entering the waste stream from the university campus, the ultimate goal of the ban. With the removal of bottled water, consumers increased their consumption of less healthy bottled beverages.