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Nestle waters from the brand Vittel, Perrier and Contrex are seen in a supermarket at company headquarters in Vevey, Switzerland. - 


KAI RYSSDAL: Here's today's entry on the list of things affected by the recession that you wouldn't normally think about. Water, apparently, is not quite the business it used to be. This morning, Nestle reported its bottled water division saw revenues evaporate by more than 5 percent last year. Bad for that particular company. Quite possibly good for the planet, though.

From the Marketplace's Sustainability Desk, Jennifer Collins reports.

Jennifer Collins: Nestle controls about a third of the bottled water market in North America with brands like Perrier, Poland Spring and Pure Life.

Nestle Ad: Embrace the Pure Life.

In this downturn, the purest choice for some is unbottled water. Tom Pirko is president of Bevmark Consulting.

Tom Pirko: You don't have to spend $1.29 on a small bottle of water, when you can drink water for free.

Pirko says consumers who buy bottled water have been hurt by the recession. Water sales to offices have taken a hit, too. Consumer advocate Emily Wurth of Food and Water Watch says this trend takes pressure off landfills.

Emily Wurth: People are returning to the tap, or as we say they're taking back the tap, and we think that is something that's really important for our long-term water future.

She hopes consumers will keep their hands off the plastic bottle, as the economy improves.

I'm Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.