Greener Bottled Water? Really?

nika bottled waterStill have bottled water as a regular item on the grocery list? Or just pick up the occasional bottle when you’re out? It’s so convenient…

As you probably know, that convenience comes at an environmental and social price: documentaries such as FLOW and Thirst, organizations such as the Sierra Club and Environmental Defense Fund, and even a few of us lowly bloggers, have reported on the costs created by water’s transformation from a freely-available resource to a multi-billion dollar commodity. That bottle of water you buy now contributes to the world’s third-largest industry.

That industry has responded with new packaging designs, and some localities are now taxing, or even banning, bottled water. A new player on the scene, Nika Water, is trying to move a few steps further in greening its bottled water offering. Is it enough? Take a look at what they’re doing.

Read the rest of this post on bottled water at the Sundance Channel’s SUNfiltered blog.

  1. Breck Speed

    You miss the point with you criticism of bottled water because it has not grown in the US as a result of attacking tap water. It has grown as an overall trend towards health and wellness. Industry stats prove most people who drink bottled water also drink tap water. They just use bottled water when, in the past, they otherwise might have chosen a sugary soft drink. If you want scare mongering about tap you should look to the filtration people like Brita (owned by chlorine maker Clorox). They are having a great laugh at your expense.

  2. Joe

    Unless the bottles themselves are made from 100% post-consumer content, manufactured and bottled using little-to-no fossil fuels and meet fair-trade standards, shipped (typically from around the world) via eco-friendly shipping with a zero carbon footprint…..then no, they will never be considered “green.” They can put all the odd-shaped bottles on the shelves as they want, it is still a burden on the planet.

  3. Jeff

    Joe – “A burden on the planet?” Have you considered the fact that plastic bottles, and plastics in general, are used by hundreds of industries? Bottled water is such a minimal user of plastics. And those groups and bloggers “have reported…” Have reported what? Misinformation? I find it incredible that bloggers just listen to groups like the Sierra Club and others without doing any further research on the subject. What happens if you’re at, say, an outdoor festival and you want to get hydrated? There’s no tap nearby, and bottled water has been banned, so therefore your choice is…soda? Or Gatorade, which has artificial sweeteners and other substances.

    There is a time and place for tap and bottled water, the latter of which is not some corporate ploy to destroy the world and make money off of a “freely-available” resource, which is, of course, incorrect. Nothing is free – not food, not shelter, and not water.

  4. Trey F

    No bottled water is not a ploy to destroy the world, nor are plastic bags or the coal industry. They are simply outdated and scared industries that make money and are trying to protect their own interests. The issue is in the consumer. We pollute our water so much that people are afraid to drink their tap water and bottled water has capitalized on this as any good business would. Unfortunately they are doing so at the expense of our environment and bodies.
    Until all plastics are mandated biodegradable, the only way to solve this is to stop buying it and educate each other. Jeff, in another post on this blog there is a discussion about Bonaroo’s efforts to eliminate bottled water, so if people care enough and the event organizers also care, or at least listen, things can change and bottled water can be made to disappear.

  5. Jeff

    Trey – I respect your opinion, and not trying to cause a stir, but do you realize how much of a horrible idea it would be to outright ban bottled water at an event like Bonnaroo? It is a horrible decision. I was at Lollapalooza last year in Chicago and without bottled water, people would have been in trouble. Where are people going to go for something to hydrate themselves? Tap stations around the field? Soda? Beer? (Kidding on the last two.)

    There’s a time and place for both tap and bottled.

    There’s also a huge difference in not using bottled water to make a statement, and actually doing something to protect the environment. Not using bottled water is a statement, but does NOTHING to save the environment. We have to look across the THOUSANDS of industries that use plastic bottles. The right plastics are safe for your body (and you drink or eat from are safe, despite what the media makes you think).

  6. Zambi Kumar

    Jeff, thank you for the post and the discussion. I have to gree with Trey that plastic bottles are a burden. In many countries people manage without plastic bottels even at concerts. It may be inconvenient but you can carry bottles of water from home. I am a plastics engineer. I agree that there are many products that use plastics and many where its uses can not be avoided. but plastic bottles are adding to the problem and at a great rate.our parents never really walked aound with plastic bottles. i strongly beleive that research into recylced plastics and biodegradeble can greatly impact our rate of plastic disposal. there are many applications where regualtory and saety standards do not dictate the use of virgin plastics( such as decorative products) and where recycled plastics can be subtituted. Plastic bottles are such an industry . If there is enough financial incentive then industry will replace PET bottles with greener plastics.

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