Everything old is new again: Tap water -- that timeless, reliable, straight-from-the sink commodity -- is quickly becoming the thirst-quencher of choice for more and more Americans. While sales of bottled water aren't exactly drying up ($16.8 billion in 2007 alone), the growth rate of 12 percent was its lowest since the early 1990s.
Once a ubiquitous lifestyle accessory of the health-conscious, bottled water increasingly has become a fading fad in the face of economic and environmental concerns. New York is one of many cities with pro-tap campaigns, and some cities no longer are providing disposable water bottles for city employees.
The Associated Press reports that one reason for the dropoff in bottled water sales is a weak economy, forc ing Americans to scrutinize spend ing choices. Many are finding it absurd to pay extra for a product that one pays for to get at home. Hmm, imagine that.
According to an American Water Works Association survey, tap water costs about 51 cents a year. Compare that with hundreds or thou sands of dollars a year that a typical American would spend on bottled water while seeking the daily recommended 64 ounces, and it's easy to see why so many are switching to the far cheaper alternative that flows right from their faucets.
Tap water usage rates are difficult to gauge, but booming sales of faucet accessories are more evidence of this recent trend. Clorox Co. reported high volume and sales growth in May for its water purification products.
Chalk it up to bottle backlash. Or, perhaps, the reality that "hip" products rarely live up to the hype.
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