Report: 64% of Bottled Water Is Tap Water, Costs 2000x More
Bottled water companies have relied on predatory marketing practices and exorbitant lobbying efforts to sell Americans on the inaccurate belief that pre-packaged water is cleaner and safer than tap water—a notion that is costing U.S. households about $16 billion per year.
The bottled water industry has an enormous environmental footprint, using about four billion pounds of plastic for packaging in 2016—which required an energy input equal to at least 45 million barrels of oil.
Though bottled water companies and lobbying groups for the industry like the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) promote their products as healthier than tap water, the study finds that attempts by Americans to avoid pollutants by relying on bottled water are also misguided: Most people also do not realize that the drinking water that they can get from their tap for a fraction of the price of bottled water actually comes with more safeguards than bottled water, since the federal government requires more rigorous safety monitoring of municipal tap water than it does of bottled water.
Bottled water companies including Nestlé and Coca-Cola have succeeded in selling their products through predatory marketing tactics.
The industry frequently targets low-income groups, people of color, and immigrant communities—people who may have lacked or still lack access to safe water—for their marketing campaigns.
In 2014, Nestlé spent upwards of $5 billion advertising its Pure Life brand, with $3.8 billion going to Spanish-language TV ads.
The National Park Service banned bottled water in the nation’s parks in 2011, successfully preventing about two million plastic bottles from entering the waste stream per year until the Trump administration reversed the ban in 2017—after years of increased lobbying expenditures by the industry.
The report urges the passage of the Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity, and Reliability (WATER) Act, which would dedicate federal funds to renovate the nation’s public water infrastructure to ensure renewed public confidence in tap water, and avert a water affordability crisis.
"The WATER Act will simultaneously deliver water justice to the millions of people in the United States who lack access to safe water, while creating nearly a million jobs," according to the report.
Update on Nestlé: Michiganders Mobilize to Take Back Public Water https://t.co/IUIr2BD7Sd @foodandwater @foe_us… https://t.co/CaLTph3LmR — EcoWatch (@EcoWatch) 1518709301.0 Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.