Nestlé Makes Bad Product Marginally Less Bad
Fresh on the heels of its defeat by activists in McCloud, Nestlé ramped up its efforts to appear a responsible corporate citizen this week by unveiling plans to use a new, ‚lightweight” plastic for its bottled water. According to the industry publication Food Production Daily, the new bottle will weigh 9.5 g, down from 12.5g. In the same article, Nestlé Waters North America CEO Kim Jeffries touted the ‚environmental impacts” of the new bottle: ‚Lightweighting our bottle is the single biggest impact we can have from an environmental standpoint on our carbon footprint,” said Jeffries.
While we are obviously all for being gentler on the environment, we have an even better idea for Nestlé: stop bottling water for profit altogether.
While plastic consumption is one way in which bottled water is bad for the environment, it is not the only way.
Plastic water bottles are recyclable, but about 86 percent of them end up in landfills, where they hang out indefinitely. Others are incinerated, a process which releases toxic byproducts such as chlorine gas and ash laden with heavy metals into the environment. Bottled water is also shipped great distances in vessels that guzzle large amounts of oil. Much of the time, it is transported in trucks that spew tons of soot and unhealthy chemicals into the air. Finally, some bottled water (including many of Nestlé‚ brands) uses water taken from the ground. This water, known as groundwater, makes up about 40 percent of our drinking and agricultural water supply. When groundwater levels run low, more energy is required to extract what remains. In cases of severe groundwater depletion, rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands dry up, and even the land itself can cave in.
Today, our groundwater resources are disappearing in many parts of the country. In some regions, underground water levels are falling because we are pumping water through wells faster than it is naturally replaced by rainfall. This may permanently damage our aquifers capacity to hold water, and can have broad consequences for our entire freshwater supply.
Like weve said before, there is no such thing as eco-friendly bottled water, and attempts to label it as such are done either out of greenwashing or ignorance. This particular stunt has ‚greenwashing” written all over it, especially due to the article‚ revelation that the change in bottles will deliver ‚an annual saving of $62m based on market rates in July.” This figure should serve to remind us that, like any corporation, Nestlé is concerned with profits, not the planet.
Since Nestlé is obviously looking for kudos for reducing the environmental impact of its bottled water, let us extend to them a hearty congratulations for making an unnecessary, wasteful, environmentally destructive product marginally less bad. Nice going, guys.