Masters of Water: more thoughts on bottled water….

I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in the bar where the mad men decided to start selling bottled water :

“Tell you what Jack, I’ll bet you a thousand bucks I can get ‘em to start buying water in a bottle”

“You might be good but even you are not that good, it is available free and tested for safety in most people’s homes, and best of all it has no taste”

“ We’ll just make it a status thing that says I’m rich and healthy, and I have so much taste, I can tell the difference in different types of water”

“Another drink?”

And a few years later, bingo!

Americans use and disposal of plastic water bottles (50 billion) would have every person using 167 single-use plastic water bottles each year.

Americans spend over $15 billion dollars each year on bottled water.

Aquafina (Pepsi) and Dasani (Coke) sell 24% of all US bottled water. Yet, both are merely treated municipal tap water, resold to the public at a premium mark-up.

The three largest corporations holding bottled water companies dominate the market. Pepsi has 13% of the market and Coke has 11%. Both of which resell treated tap water. Nestlé holds a number of smaller brands but collectively they make it the largest bottled water corporation with 26% of the market. This makes up half the US bottled water market.

World-wide the bottled water market is $50 billion dollars. The country which consumes the most bottled water also has the most publically accessible and safest water sources- the United States. The next three largest consuming countries of bottled water do not have reliable tap water- China, Brazil, and Mexico.

The UK is no better, there is a good Panorama report on the BBC site as well.

The annual report on bottled water consumption in the UK is now out and it’s bad news for the environment. UK bottled water consumption has risen by 0.7% since 2009.

Last year 2,055 million litres of bottled water were consumed in the UK. That’s 33 litres per person (and a lot of plastic). One in every six soft drinks purchased was water, which is astounding considering you can get water for free. Consumers even paid out their hard earned cash for 226 million litres of what was just bottled tap water by another name.

Buxton Water is interesting for those of us who like a little savage irony with their morning coffee, Nestle obviously:

“Mr Tom Levitt, Member of Parliament for Buxton, has announced he is standing down at the next election.

Nestlé bottles Buxton water in the town and has befriended its MP with free tickets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament and a free trip to South Africa.

After the trip, Mr. Levitt praised Nestlé and suggested it should no longer be criticised for issues he said were 30 years in the past”

It appears he has a minority view:

It is a disgrace that Mr. Levitt continues to claim regarding Nestlé baby milk marketing : “Nestle is amongst the most ethical of traders in this field.”

He has been provided with information showing that while he was enjoying his free trip to South Africa, Nestlé was advertising infant formula in supermarkets – a practice so shocking that even its competitors in the Infant Feeding Association tried unsuccessfully to stop it. The voluntary Advertising Standards Authority, part-funded by Nestlé advertising revenue, cleared the practice, meaning all companies may resort to advertising, something prohibited by the international marketing standards Nestlé claims to follow. Nestlé drives down standards.

Mr. Levitt ignores the fact that the Department of Health in South Africa told Nestlé to stop making claims about its formula that undermine breastfeeding – and the fact it says it was not asked for an opinion by the ASA about the Nestlé supermarket advertising as normally happens with issues impacting on health.

Nestlé is currently promoting its formula with the claim it ‘protects’ babies and refuses to stop misleading mothers; infants fed on formula are more likely to become sick than breastfed babies and, in conditions of poverty, more likely to die. This is not an issue from 30 to 40 years ago as Mr. Levitt likes to claim when defending his free Wimbledon tickets and other Nestlé benefits.

Lots more here:

Don’t even start me on the privatisation of water, how the fuck can someone own water, the same water the dinosaurs drank? They can’t even manage and maintain their own infrastructure, so constrained are they by the need to make a profit for their masters out of our water:

“Every day more than 3.3 billion litres of treated water – 20 per cent of the nation’s supply and 234 million litres a day more than a decade ago – are lost through leaking pipes in England and Wales. The water lost would meet the daily needs of 21.5 million people.”

As ever, more here:

As in Vegas so in Australia:

But as ever I digress, because you might have just hit on an idea, to link in some way, perhaps a voluntary donation, so that every bottle of bottled water bought contributes a small amount to a “safe drinking water for all” fund. Perhaps we could get the bottled water manufacturers to put on the outside of their bottles how much the purchase of each particular bottle would donate to the SDWFA fund.

It works for Fair Trade, why not Fair Water?

“I can hear Bill now “the ethical dollar, that’s a big dollar Bill”


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