Friday 19 April 2019

Exploit the water [again]

Free the water Part I.
Last Friday I was wandering about in Dublin waiting to have my toothy extracted at 1330hrs. As a navy brat, trained to expect lunch at 1pm ± 2 minutes, I got predictably hank marvin as I stepped of the DART to walk into deepest suburbia where the orthodontist has her practice. I had a sandwich to hand [forward planning, me] but had been planning to eat if after the event. I needed something to drink and popped into a convenient Tesco for a 500ml bottle of water. Well what a shower of bad bargains:
  • €0.85 Tipperary  500ml
  • €0.95 Ballygowan 500ml
  • €1.09Volvic  500ml . . . up to
  • €3.29 London Essence Orange And Elderflower Tonic Water !!
€3.29? I could have drunk my tears of frustration! But then, bizarrely to a sheltered chap such as myself, it turned out that you could get twice as much water for a fraction of the price:
  • €0.35 Tesco Sparkling Water Apple And Raspberry 1 Litre
  • €1.59 Ballygowan Sports Still Water 1 Litre
  • €1.59 Tesco Ironing Water Spring Petals 1 Litre
  • €1.69 Tesco Prune Juice Water 1 Litre
  • €2.09 San Pellegrino Sparkling Water 1 Litre
That Tesco Ironing Water Spring Petals sounds pretty good, must go down well in Scotland as an alternative to Irn Bru. But I plunked for The Apple and Raspberry [35c and all] and it was okay; served its wash-down pupose anyway.

I get, as you see, rather exercised about the productification of water. The whole point of having Irish Water [and its predecessors] was to produce clean clear potable water from every tap in the country. More or less coincident with the final delivery of this dream - boiled water notices are no longer normal in Roscommon - is the widespread belief that Chateau Tap is unfit for human consumption. Almost certainly carried forward by the omnipresent marketing of minute quantities of water for fantastical prices. What, you can't afford bottled water? Ye'll never marry my son, y'trollop.

Bad as marketing something quite normal for inflated prices is, at least it is honest capitalosm. There is another crowd who are selling the stuff that falls from the sky but braying an ecoplanet message with their mark-up. They are called Ecofil and I first encountered them as a Youtube ad. Then I checked out their webpage. They provide water fountains [I think] Putting an Elkay ezH2O Bottle Filler in your school will provide:
  • Ready access to drinking water and hydration.
  • Elimination of Plastic bottles in the environment
  • Filtration of Lead, chlorine and other impurities.
Here's the thing, in our house these benefits come fitted as standard - it's called the kitchen tap. The other element of gall is that, for €8+vat, Ecofil will sell you (and everyone in your school) bottles made from Green Polyethylene, a renewable raw material derived from sugar cane ethanol. During their growth cycle, the raw materials used to produce Green Polyethylene absorb and repair CO2 in the atmosphere, reducing greenhouse gases and it’s carbon footprint. That statement, apart from being apo'strophe-, Capitalisation- and subscript2- challenged, is forty shades of bollix . . . even if "for free" Ecofil will print your school logo on each bottle. That's still a t€nn€r for a plastic bottle before you put any water in it. I just got a free bottle when I bought 35c-worth of fizzy water, I'll use that until I drop it under a bus by accident. Economies of scale there are: if you buy 500 (!) of their logo-encrusted fashion accessories aka "our New Bio-degradable sports bottles", Ecofil will throw in a "free" bottle-filler worth €2,000. In no realistic natural situation will polyethylene degrade within the life-time of the children for whom these bottles are purchased.

But that's a good thing! One way of solving the world's runaway carbon footprint is to make lots of things out of polyethylene [86% carbon by weight], use them as long as you can and then pop 'em into nice big anaerobic landfills. It will be like recreating the Carboniferous coal-measures all over again.

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