Banning the Bottle
Categories: Making Our Difference: TBL CSR, Rantings of Responsible Bootmakers
On its face, a pretty cool snippet; a group of concerned citizens, in one small town, deciding “we can, we will, here we go.” And as a consequence, they eliminate a huge and unnecessary element of modern “convenience,” namely “bottled water.”
On every level, the idea in the developed world of “bottled water” is absurd. We live in countries, in Europe, Asia and North America with water processing infrastructure that ensures that our taps flow abundant and clean water to us, for no apparent cost and with no effort. But that is not enough–no, we need 12 oz sports bottles for our lunch boxes at school, and refrigerator cases at work and at the ballpark full of 16 oz bottles.
Huge business, and the range of options is staggering–from socially aware water (see Ethos at Starbucks) to value water (at Wal-Mart). In the middle, huge businesses at Coke and Pepsi among others, selling us…convenient water.
Never mind the convenience of the tap.
Never mind the convenience of buying, once in your life, a Nalgene bottle, and refilling it as frequently as you would like, for free, from the myriad of taps at your disposal anywhere in the developed world.
No, let’s indulge in bottled water.
- In dollars, the bottled water business is reported to be anywhere from $50 to $100 billion each year.
- In bottles, the number of PET water bottles used in the US each year is 50 billion (200 billion worldwide!) — and only 25% of those are recycled!
So, the town in Australia says, no more insanity–no more bottled water in town. Not sure how they will enforce the ban–sheriffs armed with water pistols loaded from the tap, ready to blaze away at the miscreant with the Dasani bottle? But the Aussies are at least doing something.
I have an idea. Call it barmy, mate–but as my first order of business in the office today, I’m gonna ban bottled water at Timberland headquarters buildings globally.
I don’t need a referendum, doesn’t matter if Congress doesn’t like it, the UN can spew its noxious vapors in some meaningless debate as per usual–I am the CEO, and if I can’t fix this stupidity–save our employees’ money, cut our waste stream, stop validating the insanity of “business as usual;” if I can’t do this much, then maybe the cynics and the skeptics are right.
Will report back from where the rubber meets the road. Real change begins not with rhetoric, but action.
President & CEO, Timberland