The History of Bottled Water: It’s “Special Water”

So now that we all know what it is, why is Team Green focusing on Take Back the Tap?  And why now?

Even though we’re only rolling out Take Back the Tap now, there are years of precedent for this program.  In fact, America’s been selling bottled water since before it was actually America (pre-Declaration of Independence), so we’re talking a lot of precedent here.  The original bottled water was surrounded by superstition– it came from a spa that advertised “special water” (those quotes are real, by the way, “special water”) for people to drink and bathe in.  It doesn’t take a chemistry major to know that water is water, but the mystical appeal got people to buy it, even though it was more expensive than other, equally clean and pure, water.  Soon water labeled as mineral or spring water (now with 100% more magical properties!) was being sold in America, and an industry was born.


Unfortunately, it was superstition then and it’s superstition now; we’ll be talking about the regulations on bottled water vs. tap water in the coming days, as well as the taste of each.  We’ll also be talking about how much declining you spend every time you buy a water bottle and just why it costs that much, how water bottles are transported from continent to continent to end up in your backpack (and then a campus recycling bin, because I know you wouldn’t even think of throwing that thing away, now, would you?), and the environmental impact of all that plastic.

Team Green’s interest in water bottles doesn’t quite go back to 18th century America, but it does cover a couple of years.  Initially a move was made to ban the sale of disposable water bottles on campus, but discussion with students showed that this wasn’t the best choice at the time.  Dining Services listened to what students wanted and kept disposable water bottles on campus.  Now, Team Green is trying to do something even better– educate students on just what goes into that plastic bottle.  Hopefully instead of having fewer choices, students will make better choices with just as many options in place.


Author: Charlotte Humes

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