The Los Angeles Times recently profiled a new bottled water business in New York called Tap’d NY. The company is just getting going, having sold about 50,000 bottles of water at a $1.50 a pop. The twist? The water comes from the tap, pumped directly from a New York City main.
Given that the water costs them less than .07 of a cent per gallon, the business owners are charging a stunning 200,000% mark-up. Pretty sweet. I guess this proves two things. First, P.T. Barnum was right: A sucker is born every minute. Second, that’s a lot of profit margin to pay for the plastic bottles that contain the water, coming at an environmental expense of polluted waterways and increased greenhouse gas emissions.
In a study published earlier this week in the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters, The Pacific Institute’s Peter Gleick and Heather Cooley wrote that the bottled water supply chain in the United States consumes as much as 2,000 times more energy than water directly from the tap. In 2007 alone, bottled water used the equivalent of an estimated 32 million to 54 million barrels of oil; most of the energy consumption coming from plastic material and bottled water transportation and plastic bottle and lid manufacturing.
NYC has great tap water. Drink it from the tap!! There is no need for more plastic bottles. Residents can bring a mug or aluminum bottle for all their drinking water needs. Paying $1.50 for a plastic bottle filled with nearly free high-quality water makes no sense whatsoever, especially during a time when every penny counts.