Tag Archive for 'bottled water'

In the ‘Wild West’ of Water, Nestlé Gets Free Pass to Bottle the Commons

Photo retrieved from: www.commondreams.org

“International food giant Nestlé is striking gold in British Columbia—dubbed the ‘Wild West’ of water regulation—extracting hundreds of millions of liters of fresh groundwater each year without paying a cent.

As the only province in Canada that doesn’t regulate groundwater use, B.C. residents are calling on the provincial government to update the century-old Water Act saying that, without doing so, B.C. is ripe for such abuse. “The province does not license groundwater, charge a rental for groundwater withdrawals or track how much bottled water companies are taking from wells,” said a Ministry of Environment spokesperson.

“It’s really the Wild West out here in terms of groundwater,” added Linda Nowlan, conservation director from World Wildlife Fund Canada.

Any measurements or documentation of groundwater extraction are undergone on a “voluntary” basis by the corporation. According to Canadian paper The Province, Nestlé is extracting 265 million liters (or roughly 70 million gallons) of water each year from one well alone.

“It’s unsettling,” said WaterWealth Project campaign director Sheila Muxlow. “What’s going to happen in the long term if Nestlé keeps taking and taking and taking?”

“We have water that’s so clean and so pure, it’s amazing. And then they take it and sell it back to us in plastic bottles,” adds Sharlene Harrison-Hinds, a resident of Hope, B.C. which relies on the same aquifer being tapped by Nestlé.”

Read more: Common Dreams


SF Considering Ways To Curb Plastic Water Bottles

Photo retrieved from: www.ap.org

“City officials are considering an ordinance that would require owners of new and renovated buildings with water fountains to install special bottle-filling taps. The law’s designed to encourage thirsty people to refill containers instead of reaching for another bottle of Evian or Aquafina.

“This is the appropriate next step to make it easier for San Franciscans to get out of the bad habit of using environmentally wasteful plastic water bottles and into the good habit of using reusable water containers,” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who introduced the legislation in June.

Bottle-filling taps like the ones that would be required if Chiu’s measure passes already are found at San Francisco International Airport and at some city parks and schools. Installed behind a drinking fountain’s regular faucet, they dispense chilled water in a quick-streaming vertical jet that is high enough to accommodate most water containers.

Advocates say having bottle-specific spigots encourages the reuse of water bottles by eliminating long waits to fill them and removing concerns about germs. Some people squirm at the thought of drinking from a fountain exposed to so many mouths, although city officials say water fountains are no less hygienic than bottle taps.”

Read more: NPR


Bottled water companies target minorities

“New York, New York - Water is the lifeblood of this planet, whose inhabitants are watching its accelerated spiral into crisis mode even as they struggle to address the issues and lifestyles that are stretching the earth’s resources thin.

Outwardly, the global water crisis appears straightforward – people simply consume too much water. A key factor in this spiral is the fact that water has been morphing from a natural resource into a marketable – and costly – product, experts and reports have shown.

Exploring different aspects of the global water crisis, from privatisation of water to corporations marketing to minorities, reveals that water – as a human right, as a product, as a natural resource – is firmly entangled with a host of issues in areas, including public health.

By 2025, 1.8 billion people will live in areas with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world’s population – projected to reach eight billion by then – will be under stress conditions. Some 1.4 billion currently lack access to safe water.

Humans consume water at a rate more than twice that of population growth, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). In 60 per cent of European cities with a population greater than 100,000, groundwater is used more quickly than it is replenished, said the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Yet even though humans consume more water than is sustainable, some would say that people do not drink enough water, and when they do, they’re often being tricked into doing so.”

Read More: Al Jazeera


Sorry, Ritz-Carlton, Plant Based Bottles For Water Are Not Green

“Most biodegradable cups are made from PLA (polylactic acid) plastic. PLA is a polymer made from high levels of polylactic acid molecules. For PLA to biodegrade, you must break up the polymer by adding water to it (a process known as hydrolyzing). Heat and moisture are required for hydrolyzing to occur. So if you throw that PLA cup or fork in the trash, where it will not be exposed to the heat and moisture required to trigger biodegradation, it will sit there for decades or centuries, much like an ordinary plastic cup or fork….If the composting infrastructure is not in place to recover the bio-material from that corn-based cup, it’s really no better than the ubiquitous red plastic keg cup.

Prima water is locally sourced in the U.S., from approved municipal water sources that are regulated under the guidelines of the FDA (which spring waters do not have to follow). Independent of the source, the water is carefully processed under the guidance of Primo Water Company.

“They actually have the nerve to say that filling a bottle with tap water isbetter than spring water because tap water is regulated. They really have no shame.”

read more: AlterNet

The Business of Bottled Water: An “Obsession” with a Price

Photo: Water bottles on a conveyor belt

Bottles move down a conveyor belt at the Evian mineral water plant in Amphion-les-Bains, France. Photograph by Jean-Pierre Clatot, AFP/Getty Images

“Everyone needs water, and in much of the developed world, they get it—virtually for free. Yet companies have made a big business out of selling water products to people with ready access to safe, clean tap water.

“The effects of the bottled-water movement have been devastating, not just on wallets but also on the environment, says Peter Gleick, one of the world’s foremost experts on sustainable water use and winner of a 2003 MacArthur “genius” grant. In his first book for the general public, Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water, Gleick explores the skillful marketing that made bottled water such a success, the myth of “clean” bottled water, and the surprising toll it has taken on our environment.

(Read more about the book on the NewsWatch Blog.)

“National Geographic News writer Eliza Barclay recently spoke with Gleick, who is co-founder and president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security in Oakland, California.”

read more: National Geographic

Bottled Water Pits Nestlé vs. Greens

“CASCADE LOCKS, Oregon—In this idyllic town on the north slope of Mount Hood, an autopsy on three dead rainbow trout may play a role in Nestlé SA’s efforts to reverse a deep slide in its bottled-water business.

“Bottled water, which for years delivered double-digit growth for Nestlé, is under fire from environmentalists. They decry the energy used to transport it and the use of billions of plastic bottles, and oppose efforts to use new springs, citing concerns about water scarcity.

“In Cascade Locks, Nestlé is trying to tap 100 million gallons of water annually for its Arrowhead water brand from a new spring—and keep the environmentalists happy, too. A key is proving that water drawn from the spring—which supplies a hatchery that raises Idaho Sockeye, an endangered species—can be replaced with municipal well water, with no harm to the fish.

“We are accused of mining water, which would suggest we are depleting a resource,” says Kim Jeffrey, chief executive of Nestlé’s North American water business. “But instead, we take water in a sustainable way. The notion that we just take what we want is simply not factual.”

“Nestlé would pipe water from the spring to a proposed new $50 million bottling plant that would employ 53 workers. In turn, it would pump Cascade Locks’ municipal well water to the hatchery to replace all the water taken from the spring—buying 300 gallons a minute from the town for the switch, or about a sixth the total municipal capacity.

“The Cascade Locks efforts are part of a push by the company to cast its water in a friendlier light. Nestlé is launching a lighter bottle with nine grams of plastic, a quarter of that found in some sports-drinks packaging.

“Environmentalists say it is impossible for a company that churns out 20 billion plastic bottles a year to become environmentally friendly and dismiss the efforts as “bluewashing.”

“In Cascade Locks, some resent seeing a rare business opportunity possibly lost. “This is becoming the Battle of the Middle Gorge,” says Mayor Brad Lorang. “Stopping Nestlé won’t save the planet, but getting Nestlé to come here could save the town.”

read more: Wall Street Journal

Bottled and Sold: What’s really in our bottled water

See full size image

“Water Number: More than 100. After months of requests and two Freedom of Information Act requests to the US Food and Drug Administration (which regulates some bottled waters), I got a list of recalls of bottled waters in the U.S. Combined with other research, I ultimately compiled a list of more than 100 bottled water recalls, affecting millions of bottles of water.

“This list (which I will soon post online) includes a remarkable list of contaminants. In addition to the benzene found in Perrier, bottled water has been found to contain mold, sodium hydroxide, kerosene, styrene, algae, yeast, tetrahydrofuran, sand, fecal coliforms and other forms of bacteria, elevated chlorine, “filth,” glass particles, sanitizer, and in my very favorite example, crickets.”

Read more: SF Gate

The Nation’s Big Water Repair Bill

toxic water

“While the E.P.A. and state environmental agencies are failing to fully enforce our federal and state clean water laws, it’s also a funding problem. Since 1978, the U.S. share of water infrastructure spending has plunged from about 75 percent to less than 5 percent, leaving cash-strapped state and local governments to shoulder an expense most cannot afford.

“As a result, our water delivery and sewage treatment systems are deteriorating, threatening public health and forcing many Americans to rely increasingly on expensive bottled water, which from an environmental and economic point of view is a disastrous trend.”

read more: New York Times

Bluewashing: Why the Bottled Water Industry’s EcoFriendly Claims Don’t Hold Water

“Corporations have a financial incentive to hide their environmental impacts from an American public that wants to buy environmentally friendly products. As consumers have been looking for ways to “go green,” corporations have been accused of “greenwashing” — selling products as environmentally responsible when they actually damage the environment. Today, with heightened media attention on the world water crisis, blue is the new green — and corporations appear to be using similar “bluewashing” tactics to obscure their effect on the world’s water.”

read more: food & water watch

The War on Tap Water

Water Number: $4 a bottle. In the latest skirmish in the war on tap water, the sports arena that hosts the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team — with the lovely name of the Quicken Loans Arena concession — has removed its drinking water fountains. The only way for thirsty fans to get water now is to wait in line at the concessions counter for a free small cup or pay $4 for bottled water or try to drink water from the bathroom faucets.

Read more: War on Tap Water