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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

The Story Of Bottled Water

Posted by Alex | March 31st, 2010 | Filed under Sustainability

We first wrote about Annie Leonard over two years ago, when her short film, The Story of Stuff, first hit the web. Well, she’s back, this time looking at the ‘manufactured demand’ for bottled water. It’s a story we’ve heard before, but the directness of her approach and simplicity of her line-drawn motion graphics do a compelling job of demonstrating the hows and whys of this unnecessary and wasteful luxury:

What makes the story all the more interesting, however, is that while ‘Stuff’ doesn’t have an industry association lobbying on its behalf, bottled water does. And the IBWA isn’t going sit idle while some activist and her snappy animations tear into their $60+ billion dollar business. Their own series of videos—featuring a fresh-faced young interviewer lobbing softball questions—are one of the clearest cases of greenwashing I’ve ever seen.

Their rebuttal to Leonard’s piece, titled Good Stewards Of The Environment, lays out their case. It’s hard to know where to begin to respond: with their pride in protecting coastlines when the oceans are strewn with plastic, or in boasting of the 30% recycle rate for bottles that require 17 million barrels of oil a year to produce—to say nothing of the 70% that end up in landfills. But perhaps more revealing is the film below, with a devil standing in for concerned environmentalists and an angel advocating the ‘benefits’ of ‘clean, safe bottled water.’ Have a look, and decide for yourself who you think has the stronger argument.

(via Elephant)

3 Responses to “The Story Of Bottled Water”

  • March 31, 2010 at 11:40 am | Tom Lauria -- IBWA says

    Oh-oh, you’re mis-reporting on our little video ‘Good Stewards of the Environment,” which was produced to mark World Water Day not as a rebuttal to Annie Leonard’s misleading and factually incorrect video. You are also mistaken about “greenwashing” because that involved deliberate lying. Our video tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Annie may have slick animation (at a tremendous cost!) but her facts fall flat. Please watch all 13 videos on the bottledwatermatters channel on You Tube. The bottled water industry has a very good story to tell.

  • April 1, 2010 at 11:45 am | Shiver says

    Tom. I would urge you to explain how Annie’s video is factually incorrect. If you have a problem with the content of the video please explain where she’s got it wrong. True her video has slick animation, which anyone who knows FLASH can put together, so I doubt it cost her that much.

    Your “Conflicted Consumer” video is completely ridiculous. Annie never said tap water was free as your video argues and your video is misleading in assuming that all utilities use chlorine in their water…. which they don’t. It costs from 240 to over 10,000 times more per gallon to purchase bottled water than it does to purchase a gallon of average tap water. (NRDC) Facts are facts, bottled water has little or no advantage over tap water.

    The only good story bottled water has to tell is the one that says it’s going out of business…….


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