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When it comes to boxed vs bottled water, choose the tap …

May 19th, 2017 · No Comments

Internet advertising … any who goes into those internet tubes encounters (far too much of) it.  Most of the time, it just slips past us though there are those items that jump to the attention. Yes, I — like 100s of millions of others — have bought things due to such advertising. (Wow, advertising works … ) But, that advertising is far from always welcome and, at times, is just counter-productive.

Here is a short post on just one of those ‘counter-productive’ moments. A banner ad on a site promoting how ‘Boxed Water is Better’ caught my attention.


Simple truth

Go with tap water.

Filter if you wish/must, but GO TAP!

That ad sent me to Boxed Water is Better with the promises for planting trees in exchange for online purchases and social media discussions/references. (Wonder whether this post will get two trees planted.) WOW! Isn’t that great, rather than those plastic bottles you can had ‘natural’ containers for your water. Wonder the web and isn’t hard to find stenographic-like posts touting the benefits of ‘boxed water’.

Let’s be more accurate in the description:

  • Boxed water is not nearly as bad as glass-bottled water and, in many (perhaps even most) circumstances, won’t be as bad as plastic-bottled water.
  • In extremely few circumstances (exceptions are horrid situations like Flint … with exceptions even to that) is real analysis likely to find that ‘boxed water is better than (decently filtered) tap water.

However, “Boxed Water is Not Nearly As Bad” isn’t that powerful an advertising slogan, able to carve into the >$100B/year bottled water market.

The reality is, humanity has a bottled water problem. Seriously, people, who in their EFFing mind thinks that moving water from Fiji in a glass bottle to your restaurant table has anything to do with a sustainable future?   So, let’s be clear, bottled water is a disaster in its scope and reach (even as there are legitimate spaces for its work) — damaging the environment, diverting meaningful resources from productive use, etc …

Now, when and why might (MIGHT) “Boxed Water is Better” be true:

  • Shipping
    • The cartoon is lighter than glass and more cartoons can be fit into the same space compared to plastic bottles.
      • And, the boxes are shipped flat (without the water), lowering the cost from manufacturing site to bottling site (if that transportation is requirement)
    • Thus, all things being equal, Boxed Water should have lower shipping costs (environmental and otherwise) than glass bottles and could be lesser damaging shipping than plastic bottles.
    • NOTE: this buys into the legitimacy/need for shipping water around the world by ships, rail, trucks … a business model and practice that is counter human and environmental health.
  • Package environmental impact

cartons result in only 8 grams of greenhouse gas emissions (per liter container). … the average half liter PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) bottle is responsible for around 50 grams … “

  • Health
    • Plastic bottles can leach chemicals into the water, especially when facing oscillations between temperature extremes, that should not occur with the boxed water.
    • Likely a wash between boxed and glass bottled water here.
  • Etc …

As the author of Bottlemania put it,

these packages perpetuate the idea that it’s okay to buy water in single-use disposable packaging., we don’t need to reduce our guilt for buying convenience products, we need to buy fewer of them in the first place.

In other words, if you MUST buy a packaged water product, sure, “Boxed Water is Better” is almost always true, but really question the need to shovel out your limited financial resources for packaged water as opposed to simply turning on the tap and paying 1/100th or 1/1000th the price (financially and environmentally).

Excuse me as I go to the sink for to refill my glass with filtered, quality water ….

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Tags: advertising · water