The war against plastic anything continues to rage on the streets of San Francisco. While we profiled the city-wide ban on plastic bags earlier this month, it's also worth noting that several local restaurants are also giving up bottled water in favor of tap.
The San Francisco Chronicle recently profiled several eateries that now offer up bubbly, filtered tap – a move that many credit to growing awareness regarding sustainability and energy. It makes sense, too: San Francisco is widely regarded as having some of the best tap water in the country.
Most restaurants are reluctant to give up the option of serving customers bottled water, mainly because it's a very profitable product. The environmental impact, however, is massive: with energy for creation, transportation, and disposal wasted on developed countries with perfectly fine tap water. It's a marketing success story that has created an amazing (and frightening) industry worth billions yearly. Last year, Americans consumed about 26 gallons each of bottled water over tap!
So, many restaurants in an effort to become more sustainable have decided to ditch bottled water and come up with creative ways to spruce up good 'ole tap. From the article,
"Our whole goal of sustainability means using as little energy as we have to. Shipping bottles of water from Italy doesn't make sense,' says Mike Kossa-Rienzi, general manager of Chez Panisse. Management hopes to complete the switch from Santa Lucia acqua con gaz to house-made sparkling water this week at both the restaurant and upstairs cafe. Chez Panisse stopped offering bottled still water last summer."
Education on how clean tap water is could be the key to getting more Americans to save the money in their wallets and help protect the environment at the same time. The advertising behind bottled water is so good (and for an $11 billion market, who can blame them?) that many of us view tap as poison. Additionally, since bottled water will not go away, it would be encouraging to see more companies use corn-based plastics that break down over time. The landfill impact could be greatly reduced with such actions.
Are there any restaurants in your area that have taken the tap water route? What do you believe the key to fighting this wasteful product is?