The True Story of Bottled Water
How many bottles of water do you drink every week? Maybe not a whole lot, since the trend towards reusable water bottles has gained significant momentum over the past few years. Yet you might be surprised to know that Americans still consume half a billion water bottles every week, according to Annie Leonard’s “The Story of Bottled Water.”
Clearly, we must be on to something, right? People must drink bottled water because it’s healthier, cheaper and tastes better, right? WRONG. Actually, bottled water is often of lower quality and less regulated than tap water, and it is consistently 2,000 times more expensive than the almost free water coming from our taps. What’s really going on is that bottled water companies spend a lot of money to create a façade of beauty, cleanliness, and health for their products. Consequently, although many areas in the world are plagued by unsafe drinking water, the companies’ advertising convinces people who live in cities with perfectly safe water that tap water is dangerous. Bottled water even regularly loses taste tests when compared to tap water! Even worse? ONE-THIRD of the bottled water we drink actually comes from the tap!
Not only is bottled water unnecessary for many people, it is also harmful to the environment. Only 20 percent of the bottles are recycled, and the rest end up in landfills or incinerators. They are also wasteful when they are being made – each year, enough oil and energy needed to fuel a million cars is used to manufacture water bottles.
At the end of Leonard’s short film, she asks us to pledge to avoid buying and drinking bottled water unless it is truly unhealthy to drink local water where you live. One billion people do not have access to clean drinking water – you can buy a water filter and donate the money you save from avoiding bottled water to help developing countries improve their infrastructure. You can also campaign to convince your local politicians to invest in our public water system, so we can continue to get safe, healthy water right from the tap. As always, to fine more information, check out some of our lesson plans on water and many other topics.