Friday, October 16, 2009

International Bottled Water Association letter to the editor

I guess we ruffled someone's feathers at the International Bottled Water Association, "the trade association representing the bottled water industry. Founded in 1958, IBWA's membership includes U.S. and international bottlers, distributors and suppliers." Tom Lauria has written a letter to the editor of The Daily Collegian decrying our effort to get Penn State to ban the sale of single-use plastic water bottles by ceasing the Aquafina portion of its Pepsi contract. Lauria writes:

The Oct. 15 article "Group asks PSU to eliminate bottled water" is an imbalanced and often incorrect missive against bottled water and deserves and requires some fact checking.

Tough FDA regulations of what constitutes purified water indicates it is not the same as tap water.

As for the high price cited in his article, anyone at Penn State is free to buy their bottled water in bulk, like most Americans.

A case of 24 single-serve bottles of water costs about $4 these days. These refreshing and portable beverages are just the ticket for people-on-the-go seeking to avoid colorings, calories, chemicals and sweeteners found in other packaged beverages.

Especially at Penn State, where campus recycling rates top national averages, properly disposing of the empty bottles is an easy task, as easy as recycling thousands of similarly packaged foods, health and cleaning products, and other PET plastic containers.

Everything needs to be recycled -- why single-out bottled water, the healthiest beverage of all? Tap water will always hold an important place in our society, from sanitation to irrigation. But not everyone enjoys the smell or taste of chlorine. Still others enjoy the crisp, slightly mineral flavor of some natural bottled waters.

The issue at hand is consumer choice and campus groups owe it to everyone to respect that.

Suffice it to say that this is the kind of response we can expect from repackaging apologists and water profiteers: choice. Methinks there is something rotten in Denmark.

I have written a letter of response to the Collegian's editor which I will post later pending its publication with other thoughts. I encourage you to also send letters.

But really: Refill. Not landfill.


  1. They're certainly nervous at the IBWA, and with good reason. People are seeing through their fancy marketing gimmicks and are realizing that we have a good thing (i.e., tap water) for free. Rock on, 3E-COE: at Penn State, we're taking back the tap.

  2. Thanks Peter, but this is definitely a massive group effort. I'm so proud of all that 3E-COE is accomplishing!!!!

  3. We all know disposable water bottles are wasteful and bad for the environment, yet their production is growing rapidly everywhere. Just 20 years ago the market for plastic water bottles was practically nonexistent, but today we produce billions of these completely unnecessary products. There can be only one sane response, plastic water bottles must be banned!