The conscious consumer is concerned with much in life, but we’re especially sensitive when it comes to two things: what we spend our money on, and what we put into our bodies.
Water falls into both categories.
Water has become a focal point of the conscious consumerist movement over the past decade. With increased awareness of depleting global freshwater supplies, and stories emerging of big business buying up the remaining reserves, something so vital to the masses is seemingly becoming increasingly controlled by the few. Businesses have long since commodified H20, capitalising on consumer suspicion over mains water quality, and turning bottled water into a $100bn a year global industry.
As water moves ever further into mainstream consumer consciousness, people are increasingly split into two camps: those who drink tap water, and those who drink bottled.
Bottle drinkers cite superior taste and quality as their primary motivators, whilst tap drinkers don’t understand why anyone would actually pay 1,500 times more for water that comes inside a bit of plastic.
We’re lucky in Britain. Our mains water supply undergoes a stringent purification process, and must adhere to strict health and safety standards set by the World Health Organisation. The water from our taps is safe, which is more than can be said for the 750 million people who don’t have access to clean drinking water. That’s priority number one, and we’ve got it covered.
So why do we continue to drink 2.6 billion litres of bottled water every year?
What’s up with tap water?
If you think your tap water tastes odd, rest assured that you’re not going mad.
A common objection amongst bottle-drinkers is that tap water tastes, and smells, just a bit funny.
The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI), an independent government body set up to regulate public water supplies, states that the odd taste is likely to be due to the small amounts of residual disinfectant used to treat the water.
The weapon of choice is chlorine, the same chemical used in antifreeze, pesticides and swimming pools. The level of chlorine in our water poses little threat to our health, but it can be responsible for the bitter taste.
Tap water can also pick up a slightly musty taste depending on your plumbing. Here’s what the DWI have to say about what could be happening in your pipes:
“Water may pick up traces of substances from your plumbing and water fittings or appliances and this situation is the most common cause of unusual or strange tastes.
• Metallic, or bitter tastes from copper, iron or galvanised pipes;
• Plastic tastes from plastic pipes, kettles, tap inserts or antisplash devices;
• Rubbery or earthy tastes from tap washers;
• TCP/disinfectant type taste from reaction of chlorine with chemicals in rubber hoses, kettles or tap washers (see below);
• Musty or earthy tastes from stagnant or warm water in little used sections of plumbing;
• Salty or chemical tastes due to incorrectly functioning or installed softeners or treatment devices and filters.”
If you’re unsure about how your residence is plumbed, and concerned with the taste of your water, the DWI recommend contacting a plumber and scheduling an inspection.
Time consuming and expensive? Tick both boxes.
Objecting to the taste or smell of tap water will either seem completely normal to you or downright nonsense, depending on your own experience.
The fact is that, when it comes to water, the conscious consumer is stuck between a rock and a hard place.
On the one hand, the heightened awareness concerning the quality of our nourishment makes us wary of drinking chemically treated water.
On the other hand, drinking bottled water is easy to object to. The ecological impact of 100 million tonnes of plastic bottles is enough to make any ethical consumer squirm (check out what The Water Project have to say about the ecological impact of bottled water).
Thankfully, there’s a third option.
Here at Virgin Pure, we believe that our WaterBars put you in full control of both your ethical consumer habits, and your body’s nourishment. Life brings compromise from all angles, but your health and your values are a compromise-free-zone.
Virgin Pure helps you to stay uncompromisingly hydrated, healthy and ethical. No musty smells. No bitter taste. No wasted plastic.
Our WaterBars plug straight into your existing plumbing, and turns your mains water into tripple-filtered super-juice like some kind of hydro-alchemy. For 76p a day, less than a single bottle of water, Virgin Pure gives you unlimited access to the healthiest and tastiest kind of H20.
Pure water is, quite literally, on tap.
By Will Reynolds