Making money from fresh air

A keen photographer travelling through Europe kept waiting for a really clear day for scenic shots until he realised that Europe doesn’t do clear days the way New Zealand does.

While air quality deteriorates in some towns and cities in winter, on fine days in most places we generally have clear views and fresh air that people from other more heavily populated and industrialised countries can only dream of.

We’ve often joked that if only we could bottle it we could make a fortune but now that might not be a joke:

The idea of buying crisp, country air in a jar has proved popular in heavily-polluted cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

In fact, people are paying upwards of $170 for a single container of air.

Leo De Watts from Britain has jumped on the bandwagon; selling jars of air collected from locations like Yorkshire, Somerset and Wales.

He describes Welsh air as having a “morning dew feel to it” with “vibrant and flavoursome undertones” while air originating from Somerset has “unblemished qualities”.

Setting off with a car full of empty jars at 5am, the team “harvests” air in large nets and seals it in the glass jars before shipping it across the world.

Mr De Watts, 27, said he had sold 180 bottles of such luxury air since his business started up just a few weeks ago.

However his company is not the first to put a price on oxygen.

Last year, a Canadian start-up which began selling plastic bags of air as a joke on eBay, realised there was a real market for the product when the air sold for $230.

The company then began bottling air from the Rocky Mountains and selling it in China for 100 Yuan ($NZ23) – 33 more times expensive than a bottle of water – but apparently a fraction of the price of British air. . .

If northern hemisphere air sells for that much, how much would fresh New Zealand air be worth?

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