Discussion GUIDE for Bottled and Sold by Peter Gleick


Authored by University of Hartford students in the classes: POL390: Marine Debris Policy and Action and HON385: Marine Pollution, Spring 2016


Chapter One

  1. For dry areas such as Phoenix and Las Vegas, or areas in a drought, is there a better solution for drinking water than bottle water?
  2. Do people drinking bottled water instead of tap water seem to gain peace of mind from it? Why?
  3. What stigmas or fears do people typically have regarding drinking tap water?
  4. The chapter states that the International Bottled Water Association calls soda companies, not tap water, their competitor. Do you think people feel safer drinking tap water or Coca Cola?
  5. What were your attitudes regarding drinking water before this chapter? After reading this chapter, what do you think about it? Have your ideas changed? Why?



Chapter Two

  1. Since private water bottle companies have taken advantage of people’s fear of tap water, what do you think are some effective ways to assure citizens that tap water is just as safe as bottled water?
  2. When considering the way people think and feel about their tap water, how can we take into account issues like the recent poor water quality in Flint, Michigan?
  3. Gleick writes that even in the 21st century “tap water isn’t as safe as it should be.” Do you believe that our laws are in need of reform? How could they be reformed?
  4. What are your thoughts about the conflict over advertising between Fiji water and Cleveland tap water? How could consumers be sure that one is safer than the other?
  5. Does your family knows the source of their drinking water? Would it make a difference if they knew? How could they look up the source and quality of their drinking water?
  6. Is tap water safe?


Chapter Three

  1. Whose job do you think it should be to regulate the bottled water industry?
  2. Gleick details stories of the lax regulation on potentially contaminated water. Should companies that knowingly sell contaminated bottle water to the public be held responsible? If so, how?
  3. What do you think should be done to push the United States away from our dependency on bottled water?
  4. Would you be more inclined to drink tap water now knowing some of the flaws of the regulatory system for bottled water?



Chapters Four and Five

  1. Do you think it’s better for bottled water to be sourced from municipal water or from groundwater?
  2. Should the affects of commercial water plants be tested to see if they are altering the local water supply?
  3. If the public knew that their bottled water was sourced from the tap, do you think they would be more inclined to just drink real tap water instead?
  4. Do you think you can taste the difference between tap water and bottled water?



Chapter Six

  1. The main reason people purchase bottled water is because they claim to not like tap water, yet it has been proven that not many people can tell the difference, so why do you suppose that is?
  2. What makes bottled water so appealing as opposed to tap water?
  3. We know water can be processed and filtered in dozens of different ways and that this process alters the water’s natural mineral content and the taste. Early corporations capitalized on these differences because the concentrations of minerals made water with unique tastes.  Is it important to offer options that yield waters with unique and original taste?


Chapter Seven

  1. After the Korean War aluminum became fairly popular and soon the aluminum can was developed, and became a popular and convenient method for preserving drinks and other items. As consumers, do you consciously purchase a drink that is canned or bottled? If you choose the aluminum can, is it because of convenience or something else.
  2. There are many forms of plastics used for drink and food packaging purposes including polycarbonate, the plastic found in large water bottles and home coolers. However under certain conditions (such as cleaning polycarbonate containers with harsh materials or water that has been left in a poly carbonate container) it has been reported that some polycarbonate containers release bisphenol A as known as BPA, which could be a potentially serious health hazard. Should we ban poly carbonate chemicals in our plastics and replace the chemical polyethylene terephthalate also known as PET a plastic that is resistant to heat, mineral oils, solvents and acids?

Chapter Eight

  1. In chapter eight Gleick spoke about the history of companies misleading consumers about their products in order for the company to make profit and how the government tries to protect the consumer from these lies, but is not always successful. Gleick seems to blame these shortcomings on the lack of resources and personal that the government has to operate with, but is the answer to this problem more government like Gleick suggest or is the answer to educate the consumer?
  2. If the government should have more power and resource to confront these companies that mislead consumers, what actions should the government take to close loopholes that were spoken about in this chapter and should they take legal action against theses companies?


Chapter Nine

  1. In chapter nine Gleick spoke about religions role in the use of water and water bottles.  Should religions take a stance on the use of water bottles by their clergy and laity?
  2. Is it ethical for water bottles companies to sell blessed water to consumers for consumption and make profit off the items?
  3. Should celebrities endorse companies that profit off of the sale of water for religious purposes?


Chapter Ten

  1. We are seeing a return in water fountains to deter people from buying bottled water. New water fountain models can filter and chill water. Do you think the public will use these higher standard fountains?
  2. While bottled water companies launch campaigns to promote drinking bottled water, colleges are becoming more involved with anti bottled water efforts. Would students at your University care about this issue? Why or why not? Could a water bottle ban realistically happen at your University or school?
  3. The Connecticut General Assembly found that CT spends $500,000 annually on bottled water. To lower that number states attempt to discourage consumption. Does increasing tax on bottled water help to control this problem? Why or why not?
  4. Does your location impact how involved you should be with this issue (rural, suburbs, city)? Or should everyone pay attention to this status of this issue?