April 27th, 2012
By Sam Law
Take Back the Tap poster by Phoebe Konig
This is the second of two blogs from Take Back the Tap Coordinators in honor of Earth Week. Food & Water Watch is working with 62 active Take Back the Tap campaigns on college campuses across the country. Emory University, Carleton College, American University, and Reed College have passed resolutions banning or significantly reducing bottled water usage on their campuses. Over the past two years, Food & Water Watch has trained over 100 student leaders on how to run successful Take Back the Tap campaigns.
College students, like many people, are incredibly involved in their own lives. This presents two unique challenges for organizing on campus around environmental justice issues. The first problem, so prevalent in our culture, is apathy. Whether a defense mechanism to protect individuals from the realization that people have very little power in this country when they organize against the moneyed interests of transnational corporations, or pure laziness is hard to tell. It’s likely a combination of the two. The second problem this egotism presents is that people, when they do get involved, so often want to focus on personal change such as turning out light switches, buying sustainable products or reducing waste.
Read the full article…
April 26th, 2012
From left to right: Chloe Lyon, Triana Tello and Meagan Lyle are Taking Back the Tap at American University.
By Meagan Lyle
This is the first of two blogs from Take Back the Tap Coordinators in honor of Earth Week. Food & Water Watch is working with 62 active Take Back the Tap campaigns on college campuses across the country. Emory University, Carleton College, American University, and Reed College have passed resolutions banning or significantly reducing bottled water usage on their campuses. Over the past two years, Food & Water Watch has trained over 100 student leaders on how to run successful Take Back the Tap campaigns.
You know that campaigning is taking over your life, when you find it hard not to glare at strangers you see buying bottled water, when every paper you write is about water privatization or green and blue washing, and when you subconsciously start typing Take Back the Tap in the middle of an unrelated homework assignment. While it is exhausting to want positive change in the world because even the smallest shift requires much time and effort, every single ounce of energy we invest in organizing our campaigns becomes worth it at the sight of victory.
The small Take Back the Tap team at American University has worked relentlessly to see tangible change in the blind consumption of bottled water on campus. Similar to other campuses, we want people to see through the bluewash of advertising that claims bottle water is safer than tap water. We aspire to inform students and faculty that every building on campus provides free, safe, regulated tap water. Yet, even after the documentaries, tabling, panel discussions, taste tests, bottled water art displays people continued to succumb to the convenience of bottled water. Discouraged by the lack of change from our efforts, we hit a crossroads. Read the full article…
April 21st, 2012
Celebrate Earth Day with Food & Water Watch
Bottled water is a bad deal.
The industry claims it’s better than tap water, but in reality, bottled water is held to lower standards than tap water in the United States, and is much more expensive. Actually, almost half the time, it is tap water, bottled in factories across the country, then shipped (with a high carbon footprint) to you. While the communities around bottling facilities are drained of their most essential resource, you’re paying a premium for something you can get virtually for free from your tap at home.
With your help, the movement against bottled water is growing. We are working with college campuses, businesses and families that are making the switch back to tap water.
In honor of Earth Day, we’re asking you to sign the Take Back the Tap pledge and promise not to use bottled water. It’s easy to make the switch. Just start drinking tap water at home. If the water in your home doesn’t taste great, invest in a filtered pitcher or a filter for your faucet — it’ll cost much less than bottled water, and it’ll taste great. When you’re out and about, carry a reusable water bottle with you, and fill it while you’re on the go.
Already bottled water-free? That’s great! Let us know you’re with us: take the pledge. Show the world you mean it with a Take Back the Tap reusable bottle.
If you want to know more about the quality of your tap water, here’s an Earth Day gift to you: our Take Back the Tap Guide to Safe Tap Water.
From all of us at Food & Water Watch, to all of our readers and our supporters, happy Earth Day.
February 27th, 2012
By Wenonah Hauter
Ruby Williams, a 78-year-old Aqua Pennsylvania customer, got stuck with a $40,000 water bill because of a serious leak in the pipes under her home in Bristol Township, Pennsylvania. After her situation garnered national media attention, the private company agreed to reduce her bill to a few hundred dollars.
Likewise, the Price family of Stallings, North Carolina recently had their sewage service cut off by Aqua North Carolina despite having paid an overdue bill. The company demanded $1,000 to restore it — hundreds of dollars more than the actual cost to do the work. Again, thanks to bad publicity and public outrage, Aqua backed down.
It’s not just American consumers that feel the pinch as our municipal water systems change from public to private hands — and it’s not just that Aqua America is one bad actor, either. Private interests worldwide increasingly control our water. Too often, customers are getting a raw deal.
Read the full article…
Posted in Bottled water
,Right to Water
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…