Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bottled water and the cost of convenience

Reusable water container
Interesting article in the paper today, "Should you use bottled or tap water?"  With bottled water from vending machines selling at 6 cents an ounce, and with 128 ounces in a gallon, it brings the cost of a bottle of water to $7.68/gallon.  And you thought that the price of gasoline was high? Before you even think about purchasing a bottle of water please watch the eight minute video, "The Story of Bottled Water."  It can help you save money and be less harmful to the environment!

While you're at it I would highly recommend saying no to soda too.  There are a plethora of negative impacts from drinking pop, some of which I referenced in an earlier blog

Sadly, it appears publicly available water may be going the way of street cars and pay phones.  Rather than the huge savings to individuals and the environment through the use of public services, businesses are cashing in on the public's desire for convenience and immediate gratification.  It is impressive how advertisers have generated both status and perceived need for imported bottled water.  What would have seemed absolutely absurd, purchasing a bottle of water, to those living just a generation ago has now become commonplace.

Discarded water bottle
Desire for convenience, shrewd advertising, and human greed are also degrading our public services. Consider how Minneapolis once had a far reaching street car system, which was later gutted for personal gain by corrupt investors.  A map of the Minneapolis street car system from 1946 shows how extensive it was prior to being wiped out for a new bus system.  Rumor is that the tire and automobile industries may have had something to do with the eradication of the street car system.

Another recent example of commonly available services being degraded is pay phones.  For only some pocket change one could make a phone call using public pay phones.  These phones were readily available around the country at gas stations, stores and street corners.  Now, with the advent of cell phones these public phones are rapidly going away.  The monthly costs of much "needed" cell phones can be enormous.

Even television that doesn't require a monthly fee to watch seems to be going by the boards.  I used to be a Twins baseball fan.  However now to watch professional baseball, in their posh state of the art publicly financed stadium, requires an expensive monthly cable package.  That's not going to happen for this guy.

So, while things may have become more convenient, they're also considerably more costly, both to the consumer and to the environment.  It is time for us all to more carefully weigh the cost of convenience.

No comments:

Post a Comment