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Bottled water – No Evian here!

So, by the end of April, it won’t be possible to pick up a bottle of Evian at Carleton U. in Ottawa.

There has been a bit of a backlash against bottled water over the past few years. Bottled water companies and water filter firms have tried to portray themselves as the safe alternative to municipal water supplies – sometimes using controversial ads to get their point across. – à la the ad that aired here in Canada that showed a toilet flushing juxtaposed with a water jugs filling (I can’t find a link to the ad).

The fact is that in most parts of Canada, tap water is pure, healthy and safe. We are fortunate to have in this country a sophisticated series of water treatment networks that draw from our abundant supplies in our lakes, rivers and aquifers, and treat it to ensure it is of the highest quality. I drink it. My kids drink it. And I have absolutely no concerns. Here in Ottawa, it is quite tasty.

The bottled water industry has grown into a behemoth and they are losing market share big-time, so the ads in some shape or form will continue. This is a big business that has exploited unfounded fears about the safety of our municipal supply and deserve some comeuppance.

So, the ban is good, right?

I’m not convinced.

Yes, from an environmental point of view, the costs of

  • withdrawing the water
  • processing it
  • manufacturing the bottles and caps
  • filling the bottles
  • shipping the goods and finally,
  • the end disposal of the plastic waste

… are significant. And I and my family rarely use plastic bottles. “Rarely” because there are times when, when one is out and about and the stainless steel MEC bottle was forgotten at home, that we buy a bottle or two. Dehydrating your kids is a bit more immoral than buying the water – IMHO.

But should Carleton actually ban the sale of these goods. These are legal products, after all. I’m sure lots of “illegal” products can be found on Campus, eh? What about cigarettes? Are they sold on Campus? I don’t know, maybe not.

And what about other products that are found on Campus that may pose a threat to the environment? What about them? Are the lawns mowed with manual lawn mowers. Are pesticides banned? Does the University have a thorough and policed waste management policy? How about the banning of plastic sandwich bags – some elementary schools ban them! How about:

  • the cleaning products used in the pubs – are they “green”? No? Ban ’em!
  • the lighting – is Carleton 100% CFL? And do they dispose of the bulbs properly after they burn out?
  • the toilets – are they all low-flush?
  • the heating systems? Are they the most energy-efficient that money can buy? No? Replace them!

Look, all I am saying is that the University is well within their rights to ban something from Campus, be it bottled water or inefficient dryers… but they are guilty of cherry-picking here…

Besides, aren’t University students the supposed to be fairly bright and concerned about the environment? Then why resort to the Nanny-State notion of banning the things! Surely they are responsible enough – with the aid of a Student Union education program, to voluntarily not buy the water? The Campus stores would soon drop them from the shelves if no one was buying the stuff. Right? Market forces and all that…

Banning things like, um, assault weapon, PCBs, gaudy suits, and clowns (I hate clowns) from Campus – sure – makes sense. But Evian? Not so sure.


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  1. […] Bottled water – No Evian here! | Trashy's World […]

  2. Dave says:

    And yet f someone doesn’t cherry pick and decide to take a stand on one thing then nothing gets done. We could always berate any group because they don’t disown everything harmful yet if they ban bottled water there is one less place in the world contributing to the vulgar profit margins and disastrous environmental policies of these corporate pariahs.

    I personally would start my crusade with banning cigarettes but what the heck at east they have done something.

  3. Ken says:

    It was a Brita filter ad:

    1. trashee says:

      Thanks Ken!

      1. gordon says:

        Yup and they were forced to add some text to the ad after it appeared that clarified that tap water was treated to meet government health standards.

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