Finding Clarity In The Muddled History Of Bottled Water

11.07.16 1 month ago

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Water is an essential element. For millennia we’ve been trapping it, welling it, boiling it, and springing it forth. There are written methods for sand or gravel filtering and boiling of rain water that date back to ancient Egypt, Greece, and India. We’ve also spent a lot of time looking for mineral water springs gurgling up from the ground — building baths and spas around these magical healing waters as far back as 3,000 years ago.

Mineral springs as a destination reigned supreme for ancient tourists. Then, in 1621, in Holy Well, England, water was bottled the first time for the consumer market. Suddenly you didn’t have to trek to the source, you could find the healing waters in the local grocer. Of course, we bottled and stored water for transport well before that, but Holy Well was the first time it was done on a large scale and for broad export.

From 1621 onward, bottled water gripped the consciousness of health-minded people the world over. Water barons would drill for springs across the world– searching for that perfect mineral balance. Eventually, through German ingenuity, public drinking water became potable and it looked as though bottled water would take its death kneel. Then one intrepid company from France revolutionized the industry in the late 70s and gave us the 100-billion-dollar-a-year bottled water industry we know today, bringing with it a blight of waste that has yet to be solved.

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