The Story of Bottled Water

The Story of Bottled Water

The Story of Bottled Water , click to watch video, well worth a look

Today is World Water Day, and there are discussions across the Internet about the sad fact that more than a billion people worldwide do not have access to safe, clean water. And then there’s the flip side of that equation, in this country, with all the needless waste produced by the bottled water industry.

Frankly, the subject of bottled water offends me and always has. I always make a big display of asking for tap water. The nicer the restaurant, the more likely I am to do this. The idea of paying money for water is, to me, a huge joke, and furthermore the plastic-packaging aspect seems simply indefensible if you have even the slightest bit of concern about the environment. And nearly everyone knows that most brands of bottled water are straight from the tap anyway! So why do people still fall for the bottled water scam so readily?

Annie Leonard, the activist filmmaker behind “The Story of Stuff” and the above short, The Story of Bottled Water,” had this to say:

In the last few decades, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestle and other big beverage companies have spent untold millions making us afraid of tap water. They’ve told us that if we want to be sure what we drink is pure and clean — not to mention hip and fashionable — we should buy bottled water. After all, nobody cool or environmentally conscious drinks tap water, right?

The thing is, there are a lot of inconvenient truths the bottled water ads don’t mention:

• Bottled water is subject to fewer health regulations than tap water. In 2006, Fiji Water ran ads bragging that their product doesn’t come from Cleveland, only to have tests show a glass of Fiji water is lower quality than Cleveland tap. Oops!

• Up to 40% of bottled water is filtered tap water. In other words, if you’re concerned about what’s in your tap water, just cut out the middleman and buy a home water filter!!

• Each year, according to the Pacific Institute’s Peter Gleick, making the plastic water bottles used in the U.S. takes enough oil and energy to fuel a million cars. And that doesn’t even include the fuel required to ship, fly or truck water across continents and state lines.
• Three-fourths of the half-billion plastic water bottles sold in the U.S. every week go to the landfill or to incinerators. It costs our cities more than $70 million to landfill water bottles alone each year, according to Corporate Accountability International.

Bottled water also costs up to 2,000% more than what the “on tap” variety will run you. And of course, if the above reasons aren’t enough to convince you that bottled water is strictly for dummies, bottled water is often chock full of nasty microbes that breed in the bottles themselves. Furthermore, leave a plastic water bottle in your car during a hot day and the contents can turn toxic from the chemicals in the plastic.

— Richard Metzger