Faucet Face: Can We Tap Our Way out of Bottle Addiction?
11 Dec, 2011
When many of us were kids, there was no such term as tap water; it was simply known as water. We drank it when we were thirsty, we drank it with meals, we used it to make ice, we cooked our food with it, we made other drinks (such as iced tea) with it, and much more, without a second thought.
Then things began to change. “The first bottled water came out in the late seventies,” Mason Gentry, founder of Faucet Face, told Organic Connections. “It was kind of a laughing stock back then, like why would you pay for water when it comes out of your faucet? But the early nineties came around and extreme sports became popular. Somehow the bottled water industry marketed their wares around that and they were able to make it popular.”
Popular is an understatement. By observation, the two required accessories for venturing out nowadays are a cell phone and a plastic water bottle. We are simply addicted to disposable plastic containers. Fifteen hundred plastic water bottles are consumed in the US every second. Singling out a particular year for plastic bottles in general, in 2006 an estimated 60 billion plastic single-use beverage containers were bought, and approximately 45 billion of these—three out of four—were thrown out.
These plastic containers do not biodegrade and simply accumulate in landfills. The bottles that make their way to the ocean have catastrophic effects on our wildlife. A mid-Pacific garbage patch that some have estimated to be as large as the continental US consists mainly of plastic, and seabirds and other life consistently mistake it for food, with resultant starvation and poisoning.
But with bottled water marketing focusing on pristine mountain streams, the quality of municipal tap water has come under greater scrutiny and has also helped drive the bottled water market. Analysis of tap water in some areas has revealed heavy metals and traces of carcinogens; and because chlorine and fluoride have been added to our tap water for years, these elements have many concerned as well.
In fairness, some tap waters test for high purity (better than some bottled waters), while a number of highly popular brands of bottled water are simply filtered tap water.
Today, tap water filtration systems have became easily available in the form of pitchers and under-sink systems, all the way up to whole-house systems, which eliminate elements that make tap water purity an issue, and it is now possible to have clean, safe and tasty water from the tap. Even many fine-dining restaurants are giving patrons a choice of filtered or bottled waters.
So, how can we easily hydrate on the move without so much environmental plastic? Enter Faucet Face—a line of designer reusable glass bottles for tap water that are both chic and green. “I’m very aware of touchy-feely aspects of brands, and how people relate to them in all their subtleties,” said Gentry. “The bottled water companies are excellent at that, and I’m endeavoring to bring some of the design and advertising background that they use and promote tap water with it.
“We do that with our designs. We’ve got great illustrators for each design, and we make high-quality bottles to appeal to people’s aesthetic values. We’re using that as an entry to start people talking about water issues as a whole—trying to make this beautiful object that is eye-catching and gets a dialogue going. The idea is that you walk out during your lunch hour and you have your ‘Tap is Terrific’ bottle, and it starts the conversation about tap water and the wastefulness of bottled water.”
Combining the use (and re-use) of a product such as Faucet Face bottles with a tap water filtration system would mean spending a fraction of the money that might be spent on bottled water—while cutting down on the substantial environmental problems inherent in plastic bottles.
But Gentry also has his eye on assisting underprivileged areas that don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. “We work closely with a charity in Malibu called TMA, and they make what are known as Biosand Filters,” he explained. “A Biosand Filter is a concrete structure about four feet high, filled with different layers of sand. It’s really basic technology, but it’s pretty miraculous. As you pour dirty water on the top, it goes through the different layers, organic chemical reactions occur, and the water is cleaned; 95 percent of the impurities are removed. It doesn’t take anything to power the filters, and they last a very long time. Some are still in use after ten years. And all you have to do to maintain them is stir up the sand.”
Anyone who purchases products from Faucet Face is automatically making a donation of Biosand Water Filters to those in need. “With any of our products purchased in a store, at least 5 percent of the purchase will go toward a filter,” Gentry said. “If you purchase on our website, four bottles will help buy a complete filter. When you buy one, two or three bottles, a portion of sales will be combined with those from other customers to make one filter.”
Utilizing a tap water filtration system along with a product such as Faucet Face, it is now cool, cost efficient, and environmentally and socially beneficial to turn on the tap.
For more information on Faucet Face products, as well as Biosand Water Filters and their benefits, visit www.faucetface.com.