This morning I read about Molecule, a new “water-only café” that’s just opened in New York City. The café takes NYC tap water and runs it through a purifier, then sells it at the price of $2.50 per 16-ounce glass. Bring in your own container and you could get a price as low as $1. Next, add vitamins and other supplements to your water, starting at $1 per serving. Admittedly, I couldn’t help but feel amused and awed all at once as I thought: “wait a minute — is this really a criticism of bottled water, embodied as a storefront?” Culture-jamming as a water café? Practical lesson in economics? Maybe both?
Guest post and infographic by Jennifer Lacey.
It wasn’t that long ago that drinking bottled water was largely unheard of in areas where there was already a good supply of tap water. Indeed, it was only around 40 years ago that bottled water was seen more as a fashionable accessory of affluence then an everyday beverage. Comparatively, bottled water is now the second most bought soft drink in the world, with Britain alone consuming over 2bn litres in 2010. This works out as around 33 litres per person – set to rise to around 40 litres in 2020, with overall sales increasing by 5.4% every year.