Does the Decline in Bottled Water Sales Mean BIG Savings for Consumers?
Once you’re found out, it’s all downhill from there. The Beverage Marketing Corporation reported that U.S. bottled water sales declined in 2009 for the second consecutive year—5.2 percent in revenues and 2.5 percent of volume sold. Water activists and eco-conscious consumers can celebrate the news due to bottled water’s immense and negative impact on the environment, and its strain on public water resources. While the industry is quick to point to the struggling economy as a primary reason for the decline, the impact of consumer awareness over bottled water’s environmental footprint cannot be ignored.
Thanks to the efforts of consumer advocates, activists and documentaries, such as Tapped, Blue Gold, Flow, The Story of Bottled Water, etc., many dark truths about the bottled water industry have been unearthed and ripped open. Consumers are receiving the message about bottled water’s bad reputation, loud and clear.
To put the sales decline into perspective relative to environmental impacts, we calculated how much the environment could benefit if the decline in sales were proportional to the reduction of the industry’s environmental impacts. The results, documented in a Food & Water Watch issue brief, demonstrate that what is bad for the bottled water industry, is likely good for planet earth.
- 650 million gallons of water = 65 million loads of laundry
- 23,000 tons of plastic, 17,000 of which would likely have ended up in landfills
- 0.8 – 1.4 million barrels of oil = energy used to drive 25,000 – 47,000 cars for one year.
- 3 liters of water for every 1 liter of bottled water. Why? It takes 2 liters of water to produce and distribute 1 liter of bottled water.
American consumers are at a critical juncture in our relationship with water. While we’ve been busy spending money on bottled water, our nation’s infrastructure has deteriorated. Do we want our communities and our schools to have to rely on bottled water?
If consumers want dependable access to safe, reliable drinking water from the tap in their home, we should all stop throwing money at Nestlé, Coke and Pepsi, and start reinvesting in the infrastructure that we already have in place. If the tide is truly turning away from bottled water, we have next steps to consider.