Message in a Bottle

by: Heather on 10/23/2007
Posted in: Activism

Bottled water is a staple for hundreds of thousands of North Americans. Aggressive marketing campaigns lead consumers to believe that consuming bottled water is healthier than drinking tap water despite the fact that the source for many brands of bottled water is none other than municipal water systems. According to Think Outside the Bottle, "making bottles to meet Americans' demand for bottled water required the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil last year - enough fuel for more than 1 million U.S. cars for a year - and generated more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide."

I remember how startled I was when I noticed the words "product of Coca-Cola" on a bottle of Dasani. And Aquafina is produced by none other than Pepsico. Not content with dominating the soft drink industry, these corporations are now firmly entrenched in the business of packaging municipal water, "purifying it" and selling it back to consumers for a hefty premium.

Some US cities are fighting back. According to this story, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has endorsed a proposal to add a 10-cent tax to each bottle to help offset revenue declines from the city water system, reduce litter and decrease the amount of oil used to produce and transport bottled water. Many other cities have asked city employees not to use bottled water or have banned city spending on it.

It seems to me that avoiding bottled water is a pretty simple step you can take to make a difference. It may require some planning ahead (just like refusing plastic shopping bags and disposable coffee cups), but just think of the impact if we could all make those simple commitments!

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