Americans Drinking More Bottled Water Than Ever Before
According to a story by author and journalist Charles Fishman on Fast Company's FastCoExist website, despite organized efforts to curb our consumption of bottled water, Americans are drinking more packaged H2O than ever before. In 2011, a staggering 9.1 billion gallons of bottled water was sold, the highest total volume ever sold in the States, with an average of 222 bottles sold to each and every person last year. Lest you think this sounds like an inflated figure, Fishman is an expert on the subject as the author of the book The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water. In his FastCoExist piece, he pulls his sales figures from the Beverage Marketing Corp. and laments the fact that major bottling companies such as Coke, Pepsi, and Nestle have been deeply discounting water over the past few years to sustain recesssionary sales. As such, sales are up at an alarming rate. "Bottled water sales are growing twice as fast as the economy itself," he writes.
There are a few ways that these efforts have been counteracted, though not with enough force to put a dent in big bottling's efforts to boost sales. Fishman mentions that four U.S. municipalities (New York City, Seattle, San Francisco, and Chicago's Cook County, respectively) have banned the use of government funds to purchase bottled water. He also points to the campus organizing efforts led by groups such as the PPC's Plastic Free Campuses, which aim to reduce the plastic bottle footprint on school campuses across the country and around the globe. But what else can be done to counteract the marketing machine behind these powerful multinational companies? Fishman stops short of offering an answer.