November 14th, 2011
By Rich Bindell
Anyone lucky enough to see the Grand Canyon should understand why Grand Canyon National Park officials wanted to institute a ban on the sale of bottled water in the park. Visitors to the park should be able to see the Canyon in its pristine condition, not littered with plastic bottles. But National Parks Service Director Jon Jarvis blocked the ban right before it took effect, and shortly after Coca-Cola made inquires about the ban. Since Coca-Cola is a major donor to the National Parks Foundation, contributing about $13 million in total to the Foundation and the Parks, we have to ask: how much influence should a corporate donor have on the operations decisions of an entity like National Parks Service?
Stephen P. Martin, a Grand Canyon park official, developed the ban because 30 percent of park waste is from plastic bottles. In a place like a national park, a preserved location, protected from the usual scars (like garbage) left by human beings, this seems like a reasonable course of action to take. There’s really no reason to object to any attempt to keep a national park free from excess waste.
But, Coca-Cola sells its Dasani brand of bottled water to park visitors. The park’s ban would include providing water stations for reusable bottles, but Coke would, of course, prefer people buy their product.
When asked about the ban, Susan Stribling, a Coca-Cola spokeswoman, exposed a serious lack of understanding when it comes to waste and recycling. According to Stribling, Coca-Cola’s strategy isn’t to try to eliminate waste before it’s created, but to provide recycling bins instead. She offered this ridiculous and preposterous response: Read the full article…
October 19th, 2011
Nestlé's sales account managers should be more careful about their potential client list.
By Rich Bindell
Talk about an overly optimistic sales strategy.
No fewer than six Food & Water Watch staff members received emails from a salesman with a Nestle affiliated bottled water brand over the past few weeks, asking if we’d be interested in purchasing their bottled water and various products and services for our office.
Clearly, this salesperson did not do his homework. If he had, he would have figured out pretty quickly what we think about bottled water.
After several emails around the office discussing this ill-conceived sales maneuver, I decided to respond…
Dear Bottled Water Salesperson, Read the full article…
October 12th, 2011
Whole Foods recommends using bottled water when you brew their coffee.
By Darcey Rakestraw
It’s a common practice for brands to cross-market its products on labels, but I have to say this is a blunder: Whole Foods suggests on its “365 Brand” coffee label that people brew it using its 365 Brand bottled water. (Thanks to our office manager Ben Schumin for the pic.)
Coming from a company that has a “green mission”—during a time of economic crisis, no less—this seems particularly tone deaf. No doubt it will give Whole Foods naysayers more fodder for calling it Whole Paycheck, since bottled water is thousands of times more expensive than tap water. It also creates mountains of garbage, with less than 25 percent of plastic bottles getting recycled. Plus it is a waste of fossil fuels in production and transport, using the equivalent of 32 and 54 million barrels of oil in 2007—enough to fuel about 1.5 million cars for a year.
July 20th, 2011
By Rich Bindell
It’s nice to get some good news in the form of a small but important victory from the field: Pacific University has banned the sale of bottled water. Starting in August, no one will be able to purchase bottled water on campus or access bottled water through official university functions. Congratulations to the students and alumni who made it happen!
Even though Pacific University is a smaller school than, let’s say, Portland State University (PSU), this is still a great win for water advocates across the country. Why make the comparison between the two schools? Sometimes you have to read between the lines to get to the heart of the story. Read the full article…
April 28th, 2011
Executive Director Wenonah Hauter got the inside scoop on what the water industry is up to at the 2011 Global Water Summit in Berlin.
Last week I was in Berlin at the Global Water Summit 2011, a meet up for corporations that want to profit from water as it becomes scarcer. Sponsored by all the bad actors in the water industry, from Veolia to General Electric, the conference URL was www.watermeetsmoney.com. Even the Koch Brothers’ empire was represented (Koch Industries helped pollute water with its fossil fuel operations, so why not profit also from cleaning up the mess?)
My colleague, Anil Naidoo from the Council of Canadians, and I were invited to the meeting to debate the libertarian economist David Zetland and William Muhairwe, managing director of Uganda’s national water company. Both Zetland and Muhairwe are big proponents of full-cost pricing and dismissive of the government’s role in providing water.
Some may wonder why Anil and I would go there to debate, especially when the audience was comprised of people employed in the water industry. The truth is that there is no better place to really figure out what they are up to. An hour debate was a small price to pay for free entrance to the $2,500.00 event that gave us real insight into the newest plans of the global water cartel. Read the full article…
April 5th, 2011
Nestlé’s Pure Life Brand could be a major threat to public water and to water as a human right. Read our report: Hanging on for Pure Life to find out what Nestlé is doing to position itself for the future.
In 2008, bottled water sales in the United States experienced a decline — one that lasted for two consecutive years. This was good news for water advocates, and bad news for the bottled water industry. Many believe this decline was due to a combination of a troubled economy and a growing consumer consciousness about bottled water’s negative environmental impacts. But, while the entire industry reported losses, one bottled water brand stood alone with increased sales: Nestlé Waters’ Pure Life.
But what allowed this brand to shine in an otherwise challenging marketplace for bottled water? Was it brilliant marketing, or does the Pure Life brand represent something more than just a bottled water product? Read the full article…
March 22nd, 2011
The Take Back the Tap Curriculum is designed to teach kids about the importance of protecting our most essential public resource: water.
A great way to prepare to face the challenges of the future is to invest today in the knowledge of tomorrow’s leaders. Thus, on this World Water Day, Food & Water Watch is happy to launch a special initiative developed to teach the next generation about how to protect our water resources. The Take Back the Tap Curriculum is designed to educate young students about the critical importance of defending water as a public resource and to demonstrate the negative impact of bottled water on the environment and the community. Read the full article…
March 17th, 2011
Net pens, used for factory fish farming, are destructive to the marine environment. Even if you change their shape and keep them underwater, they are still destructive to the marine environment.
Coke’s Dasani brand has introduced a new kind of plastic bottle, 30 percent of which is made from plant-based materials. (Please explore this phenomenon further via Jennifer Grayson’s blog at The Red, White and Green.) The ad declares that the bottle is made with “100 percent recyclability.” This, of course, refers to the idea of consumers placing their empty water bottles into a recycling bin to be reconstituted for further use at a later time. But, if only 25 percent of plastic bottles actually reach the recycling bin, does 100 percent recyclability have much meaning? I think it does — it’s meaning is to distract consumers from how damaging the product is to the environment, especially since the remaining 75 percent of plastic bottles end up in landfills.
Seeing an ad with a vibrant green plant blooming into a plastic bottle from the heart of its lovely pedals is enough to convince many consumers that a product is eco-friendly, but it’s merely a distraction. It’s up to us to know that the product within that fancy, useless bottle is actually something that already belongs to us, regardless of what kind of bottle is used to contain it. Plant bottle or plastic bottle, buying bottled water is destructive and not at all necessary. Read the full article…
February 22nd, 2011
San Francisco International Airport unveiled new tap water stations last week. The stations offer free filtered water to travelers.
For many passengers, air travel in the modern age can be downright unpleasant. From “surplus” luggage surcharges, to cramped seats in coach, to overly-familiar TSA agents, it seems that just about everyone has something to complain about when it comes to flying the not-so-friendly skies. And don’t even get me started on the difficulties of staying properly hydrated when security won’t allow containers of liquid larger than 3.4 past its nosy screening lines.
Luckily for travelers passing through San Francisco International Airport, one of those hassles is a dehydration-induced headache of the past. Last week, the airport unveiled a new network of tap water stations designed to quench the thirst of parched fliers without making them shell out precious cash for bottled water. Read the full article…
November 2nd, 2010
Coca-Cola is closing a spring water bottling plant in High Springs, FL, a move they say is because they want to concentrate on bottling purified water. But their “purified” bottled water actually comes from municipal sources. Coke switching from spring water to purified water essentially means a switch from spring water to tap water. This is certainly a unique occasion when Coca-Cola admits that they are selling tap water in those bottles. But what does it mean for taxpayers when a beverage company wants to focus more on municipal water? Read the full article…