Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It's not easy being Green (again)

It was about 20 years ago that it first dawned on me that it was very cool to drink bottled water and that tap water was uncool and/or suspect. Fads are fickle, of course, and of late it has become uncool (un-Green) to consume the bottled stuff and tap water has been making a comeback. You can now proudly tell the waiter that you just want tap water.

When I last checked, the local Whole Foods was still stacking the bottled stuff, in many assorted bottle colors at fairly high prices and from exotic places. I counted roughly 20 brands but many bottlers have gotten the drift and have added food colors, vitamins, minerals -- not to mention very unusual bottle shapes.

Last Sunday's LA Times included an op-ed that implored us to get over the "yuck factor" and embrace recycled "indirect potable reuse". Trouble is that local DWP officials have switched to the much clearer "toilet-to-tap" label. Alliteration has its uses.

It's not easy being Green and it's confusing. Wind power is good but not when the windmills are placed anywhere near Nantucket. Drinking water is acceptable from the toilet or bottled from Northern Italy, Iceland, Hawaii, France, Poland. Lugging millons of glass bottles thousands of miles leaves one hell of a carbon footprint, etc.

No one knows where this will end. Are the Perrier people thinking about the export potential right under their noses in French toilets? (I didn't start this!)