Water cooler talk

by Amber Hildebrandt, CBCNews.ca

Remember that clink-clunk as a case of milk bottles was delivered to your doorstep back in the olden days? Me neither.

But what’s old may be new again. Instead of milk, though, the sound may be the soft thud of a glass water cooler bottle as it's gently placed on your porch.

Ontario-based Cedar Springs began offering its large water cooler bottles in glass early last summer in response to customer requests. Since then the product's popularity has been on the rise.

“People like the inert qualities of glass,” said company vice-president Craig Hayhoe. "It’s the old-style packaging and they appreciate it."

Health seems to be the main issue, Hayhoe says. He admits news stories about concerns over plastics haven't hurt glass bottle sales, though notes "it doesn't necessarily drive all our sales."

But a return to glass can also pose its own set of problems, most noticeably due to its weight and breakability.

To accommodate the weight difference and make it easier to lift, the company offers smaller bottles in glass than the standard plastic ones - an 11.3-litre bottle weighing 40 pounds (18 kilograms) compared to the 18 litre plastic ones weighing 50 pounds.

And the bottles, imported from Italy, are a bit more delicate to handle, say Hayhoe. "You have to handle it like china."

For now, I have enough trouble trekking home from the grocery store with my bulky milk bottles. I think I'll just keep tapping into my city's water supply. Easy to carry that glass and no problem if it breaks.