In her new book Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It, Royte takes a critical look at the business of selling a natural resource essential to human survival. Her study not only makes a case for business reform (Royte estimates that bottled water industry, which includes big companies including Coca-Cola (KO) and Pepsi (PEP) creates up to 40 billion a year in wasted plastic containers), it also asks some important questions on behalf of consumers.
Are folks wasting their cash by buying bottled water? What is so wrong with tap, anyway? For answers, MainStreet spoke with Royte from her home in New York City. Her ways to stay hydrated, while saving money at the same time, might surprise you:
What’s the first thing the consumer needs to know about the difference between tap and bottled water?
Bottled water is inspected less frequently than tap water and even when it is finally inspected, the results aren’t made public. Tap water utilities are required to send out a right-to-know report every year. Tap water’s tested more than 100,000 times a year and the FDA [Food & Drug Administration] inspector makes it out to a bottled water plant once every one to five years.
Do you think buying bottled water is worth it for the consumer?
So what do you drink – tap or bottled?