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Bottlemania : How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It
New York, NY : Bloomsbury USA, 2008
HD9349 .M542 R69 2008
With sales already having surpassed those of milk and beer, and second now only to soda, bottled water is on the verge of becoming the most popular beverage in the country. Brands and logos have become so ubiquitous we scarcely realize that Poland Spring and Evian are real springs, bubbling in remote corners of Maine and France. Only now, with the bottled water industry trading in billions of dollars, have we begun to question the environmental and social fallout of what we're drinking.
In this eye-opening work of narrative journalism, Elizabeth Royte finds the people, machines, economies, and cultural trends that bring bottled water from nature to our supermarkets. With penetrating insight, she describes how Perrier transformed bottled water into a commodity for the European gentry, and how Nestlé, with its purchase of Poland Spring, expanded that brand into one our country's most profitable.
Royte takes readers to one particularly controversial Poland Spring source, in Freyberg, Maine, where a bitter dispute has erupted between the townspeople and the multinational corporation that covets its water. It's a story fraught with betrayal, bad faith, and good people battling against the odds. And yet, as the world runs out of clean, fresh water, what the citizens of this tiny town learn about the ownership of water will ultimately matter a great deal to all of us.
As she visits filtration plants and natural springs, Royte lays out the issues that surround the seemingly simple matter of what we ought to drink: Who owns the water that flows underground, and is it right for corporations to profit from it? How do the manufacture, transportation, and disposal of plastic water bottles affect the environment? Is the stuff coming from our taps okay to drink? If not, what can we do to make our water safe and tasty? And while everyone acknowledges that we must protect public water supplies from pollution, what should we do about privatization?
A riveting chronicle of one of the greatest marketing coups of the twentieth century - as well as a powerful environmental wakeup call - Bottlemania is essential reading for anyone shelling out two dollars to quench their momentary thirst.
Quoted from dustjacket.