Saturday, March 31, 2012

Drink WAT-AAH Part 2

Yeah. I did it. I was at the Natural Products Expo West, and, walking about, I spied a company I had previously pretty much trashed in a blog entry 2 years ago. (http://goodgreenwitch.blogspot.com/2010/07/trick-kids-into-drinking-more-water.html) Sure, I had a moment when I thought I would just sneer and walk past, but then something came over me, and I walked right up to the lady there at the big colorful booth for WAT-AAH and flat-out stated, "Hi. I trashed your product in my blog." She exclaimed, "WHY would you do that??" We laughed (because I really actually AM a nice person), and had a very nice talk for the next 10 minutes or so.

I told her that I did not think bottled water aimed at kids was necessary, and that it set a dangerous example for later in life. She pointed out how their company attempts to get kids to get excited about drinking healthy water over soda or sugary juices and sports drinks. Valid. Going back to my original post, I did actually give them credit for that. (Shocking - I DID research before writing. Ha!) She pointed out their Healthy Hydration Program. I went to their site to read more about it, but the immediate noises that come up when you get there sets me off every time. And then my computer hung up anyway. Seems Google Chrome wasn't fond of the site either. It's a valid program. Good ideas. Kids SHOULD drink water instead of crappy sugary high-fructose-corn-syrupy things. I agree. She said their product has no flavor, sugar, or color, and they rely on fun colors on the bottles and fun to attract kids. She told me a bit about their Juvenile Diabetes Event. OK, they are a pretty into-it company, for sure. Good stuff.

They have great intentions. And the woman I spoke with, Carol (the owner, it turns out), was a very nice very lovely lady. Do they get a pass?

Mmmmm.... no. Sorry, Carol. I know you tried.

I cannot get behind any single-use plastic bottle usage. Are there situations when they are a necessity? Probably. But the 'fridge at home is not one of them. Running around with the kids is NOT one of them, much as parents like to say it is. Sporting events? No, not really. Why don't kids have reusable bottles with their names on them on the sidelines? How many half-empty bottles of this stuff gets picked up at the end of the game, how many kids grabbed another and half-drank it because they lost track of their original one? How much waste??? "Well, we recycle them." Um, no, we don't. We throw them in a bin and feel great about ourselves, but in reality, it is a giant crap-shoot that any of them actually get recycled, or really, down-cycled. More likely, they are contributing to the Giant Plastic Problem we have. Should we be avoiding plastic bottles as much as possible instead? Heck yah. Just because bottles no longer have BPA in them, does that mean there are not still unknown chemicals leeching out into that water that your precious angels are drinking? Mmm hmm. Remember a few years ago when we were ignorant of BPA? Think that can't happen again with another chemical? Mmm hmmm. It is seriously short-sighted to not think about that.

I also went back to read the comments from that earlier post. Apparently, bottled water strikes a nerve when it hits parents in the Big Convenience. I'm including here most of what a Dad said (not edited):

"I read you're blog because Im a Dad with a child that drinks WAT-AAH! all the time. I also make sure to re-use the bottles we buy whenever we can - and of course, we also recycle them.
Im as environmentally conscious as the next guy but I gotta say, reading this blog, Im betting you dont have kids. Nieces and nephews maybe, but not your own. I dont say that as a dig, but when you're running around town and your kids really thirsty and he or she can pick from one of the 400 bottles (plastic bottles) of sugary syrup or this water brand, I'm more than happy to throw down to encourage that decision."

I replied very nicely and with a conciliatory tone, but you know what? I've changed my mind. I already covered the part where throwing them in a bin does not recycling assure. And when you are "running around town," did you NOT think ahead that perhaps at some point your little joys would perhaps, oh, I don't know, get thirsty and plan accordingly? Or do you find yourself having to BUY stuff, because you couldn't be bothered to plan ahead? How about getting your kids in the habit to grab their own reusable bottles as you all head out to go buy stuff? (Wow, Green Witch, what a good idea!) No, I don't have kids. And hey there! Your having kids, by the way, is NOT an excuse to trash the planet I also happen to enjoy. If anything, you should be even more careful and more responsible. Heck, I should be the one gleefully trashing it. But lookit that: I am not.

I pointed out to Carol (who really IS a great lady, I felt good about meeting her, and I really did digest all the things she took the time to tell me) that perhaps giving young kids these throw-aways was setting them up for bad habits into adulthood. She disagreed, feeling that kids who drank WAT-AAH grew up to be more responsible. Meh... I have to think I might be closer to the mark. Yes, WAT-AAH is a better choice than the other things in this picture here, but we SURE as heck do NOT need bottled water in the fridge or cupboards at home. There are no Earth-shattering emergencies that come along every random day that require this. A typical Summer day does NOT need the child running into the kitchen and grabbing a bottle like this. Run in and grab your personal bottle, great. But not this. Not the regular size, not the cute little size, no, this is not remotely necessary. While "running around" is not necessary. It really just isn't. Period.

Plus, they were downing them at the booth during the Expo. I know, it's all about showing how you use your own product... but yeah. Not so much. How many empty bottles after a weekend... and for what?

For what?

Convenience.

Yup.

I'm pretty sure we had sports and run-around days way back before the plastic bottle craze. And, funny, we're still here. We didn't die of thirst. Oh - and how funny, we didn't have nearly the obesity and diabetes that we have in kids now. How ever did we manage, you know, with Life being SO darned... inconvenient?