Bottled Water and the Damage Done

by redpillpapa · 5 comments

in Environment,General,Health+Wellness,Nutrition+Food

Clean drinking water seems to be one of the inalienable rights not mentioned in the US Constitution.  All we have to do is turn on the tap, fill a glass and drink it, and we have the peace of mind of knowing that the water carries a seal of approval from the Environmental Protection Agency.  Chances are this tap water has been tested hundreds of times per month and adheres to strict government-mandated health standards.  With this being the case in the US, and with most of the world’s population not having access to clean drinking water, we have to scratch our heads and wonder: why in the world are consumers in the US and other industrialized nations choosing to take a literal step backwards by reaching into their pockets to spend hard-earned money on inferior quality water with wicked consequences and by-products (such as: 80 million discarded plastic bottles a day in the US alone and the associated fuel consumption necessary in manufacturing these containers and transporting water from source to shelf)?  Yes, you read it right: bottled water is inferior to tap water.  Bottled water happens to be an $8 plus billion industry in the US, so chances are, just like me up until recently, you ‘drank the Kool Aid’ and believed that the water coming out of your tap was no longer the best option.  Well here’s your Red Pill Parent “Aha” moment.  Let’s dig in …

Once again, big business and the profit motive are the driving force behind the shift to bottled water.  Nestle, the worlds largest food manufacturer, based in Switzerland, is currently the largest purveyor of bottled water, owning brands such as Poland Springs, Arrowhead, Zephyr Hills, Calistoga, Deer Park, Ice Mountain, Ozarka, Perrier, S. Pellegrino, Acqua Panna, Contrex and Nestlé Pure Life.  Worldwide Nestle Waters, whose slogan is “The Healthy Hydration Company,” markets 62 brands of bottled waters.  The Coca Cola Company’s main water brand is Dasani.  Pepsi’s is Aquafina, and the list goes on.

Bottled water is generally marketed as coming from natural springs (and some of it does), but the fact is that most bottled water in the US (especially the two most prevalent brands, Coke’s Dasani and Pepsi’s Aquafina) comes from municipal water supplies (read: tap water).  Aquafina, the best selling brand in the US, admitted this publicly in 2007.  Read the labels and you can see for yourself.  Regardless of where it comes from, bottled water is only tested a few times a year (vs. the multiple times per day of your tap water) and does not fall under the EPA’s purview.

I learned much of this from Tapped, a life-changing, fascinating documentary film about the bottled water industry and its ripple effect.  It examines the role of the bottled water industry and its effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil.   The movie website is filled with great information and resources.

The bottom line on bottled water is this: it’s less safe than tap water, we pay a ridiculous markup for it, its processing (involving the creation of plastic bottles) is a huge petroleum sucker and a hazard to the health of populations living around the plants, and the resulting plastic bottle debris is its own special environmental nightmare, as only 20% of the 80 million bottles the US uses in a day are recycled.  In chatting with Red Pill Mama about this the other day, she reminded me of Evian’s debut back in the 80s, when the big joke was that Evian spelled backward was “naive.”  Paying a premium for water in a bottle seemed, back then, ludicrous.  If that was ludicrous then, what do we call the fact that it’s become an $80 billion industry now, especially given that what we’re primarily buying (at the aforementioned astronomical markup) tap water: at least Evian came from springs in the French Alps!  Mama thinks there should be a brand of water called Enasni: “Insane” spelled backwards.

Now that you have decided to take the red pill of truth, we would recommend purchasing safe stainless steel water bottles that you and your family can use to take your tap water with you and refill on the go.  My own research led me to choose Klean Kanteen Reusable Water Bottles.  Mama and others are fans of  SIGG Reusable Water Bottles.  There are many brands and many types that offer kid-cute designs and lunchbox-friendly sizes, so that you can nip the bottled water habit in the bud with your little ones.  Don’t let a $10 or $20 price tag scare you away: if you commit to weaning yourself and your family off of overpriced, minimally tested, plastic-dependent bottled water, you will save hundreds of dollars per year.  And as a Red Pill Parent, you will be showing your kids how to appreciate what they’ve got, and use resources wisely, rather than adopting a use-and-toss mentality that can infect their entire way of living.

~ Red Pill Papa


Tapped movie trailer

Nestle Waters Website


{ 1 trackback }

Be Wary of Greenwashing
December 2, 2010 at 2:08 pm

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Out of the Blue May 14, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Once again you open my eyes! Thanks so much for the fabulous info!

Red Pill Mama May 18, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Oh, OOTB, that is music to our ears, because that is EVERYTHING that we want to accomplish through Red Pill Parents! Thank you …

Anastasia May 19, 2010 at 7:45 am

Just… WOW. I had no idea that Nestle owns Poland Spring (we boycott Nestle because of their illegal formula advertising in third world countries). I am disgusted.

It is also disgusting to note that water you are PAYING for comes from the tap!

Sadly, I am so brainwashed by the tap water industry that I cringe to think about drinking tap water. I will watch the documentary as well as do some research on my local (NYC) water. Thanks, Red Pill Parents!

Red Pill Mama May 21, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Anastasia, your NYC drinking water is famous for being FANTASTIC — it’s even the secret ingredient in the crust of true New York pizza, right Red Pill Papa?

Funny you should mention tap water, because a fellow CU alum named Gary sent me this note:

I took a sabbatical from corporate life a few years ago during which I was Executive Director of the American Water Works Association ( Learned a lot about water, including that despite what we may do to pollute source water, utilities in the US do a heckuva job providing us with perfectly safe drinking water. AWWA has a great public affairs site and a “campaign-in-a-box” called “Only Tap Water Delivers” which is great for schools and general community education. For anybody interested, your local water utility will probably know it and be willing to provide free support.

Thanks Gary!

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