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You think of yourself as the typical green Seattleite: when you can't bike to work, you drive a hybrid. You shop at the farmer's market

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Tiny Bubbles

Introducing the seltzer drinker's dilemma

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You think of yourself as the typical green Seattleite: when you can't bike to work, you drive a hybrid. You shop at the farmer's market and do your best to eat local. You backcountry ski because the lifts use so much damn energy. You drink water to avoid unnecessary sugars. But are your drinking habits at odds with your environmental goals?

A piece in the San Francisco Chronicle announced that  Chez Panisse, the Bay Area restaurant lauded for its leadership in sustainable restaurant practices, stopped serving bottled seltzer water this week. In an effort to save the energy involved in shipping, the restaurant will be carbonating filtered local tap water in-house from now on, which sounds to me like a pretty good idea. Think about it: a pint's a pound, the world around. Each (two-pint) bottle of San Pellegrino you order gets shipped. In glass. From Italy. What's sustainable about that?

The news has me writhing with guilt. How could I have been so game about eating local food and so lame about drinking local water? I schlep bottles of seltzer home from Trader Joe's every week, and I don't always go for tap water at restaurants. Considering that Seattle's drinking water is relatively palatable compared to other cities, I'm up for the switch - I might have to get one of these countertop carbonating machines for my kitchen. Europeans have only been using them for, oh, a few decades.

Has anyone heard of any Seattle restaurants looking to make the switch?

 
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