Tapping into New York City water




Credit: Lea Rubin

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NEW YORK: Many bottled water brands contain nothing more than filtered tap water, but one company, at least, is brave enough to admit it.

Tap'dNY, launched last month in New York, is proudly bottling the city's tap water. The company is aiming to encourage New Yorkers to drink local water, says Craig Zucker, Tap'dNY founder and CEO.

"The tipping point in bottled water came when Fiji, imported from over 13,679 km (8,500 miles) away, became a big brand in New York," Zucker said. But "New York City water beats Fiji in taste tests - and it is local."

Tap'dNY takes the water directly from the mains water supply and, prior to bottling, filters it with reverse osmosis to remove chlorine and impurities from pipes and transport.

Reuse, recycle, go local

Unlike other bottled water companies, Tap'dNY not only encourages buyers to recycle its bottles (which are made of PET recycled plastics), it also encourages them to reuse the plastic bottles several times before recycling.

The company's manifesto also encourages people to drink tap water whenever possible, forgoing bottled water completely - except for its brand, if the need arises, of course.

"[Tapd'NY is] not trying to tell people to buy bottled water. The issue is there's not always access to tap, and people don't always have a bottle with them. [The bottled water industry] is not disappearing. We need to find a happy medium, and we feel that Tap'dNY fills that need," said Zucker.

According to Zucker, Tap'dNY is currently seeking partnerships with local charities, city organisations, and green initiatives. "Supporting the city is absolutely part of our mission," he said.

Mixed reviews

Some New York-area residents praised Tap'dNY's upfront marketing. Brian Rosenthal of New Jersey said: "As far as bottled water is concerned, at least they're honest. A lot of bottled water is basically the same as this, just purified water from down the road."

James Nunan of New York agreed: "At least their marketing is more honest than [American bottled water brands] Dasani or Aquafina."

Others are skeptical. "I think it's a cash-building, green-washing company that is making a profit off of something that is free. They have a reduced carbon footprint [as compared to other companies], but there wouldn't be one at all if people just drank tap water," said New Yorker Lauren Casamassima.

While it will eventually be available city-wide, Tap'dNY is currently only available in select locations in the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

But, don't look for it on your local shelf anytime soon. True to their local-minded manifesto, Tap'dNY said: "Sorry, we won't export our water."