Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Responding to Nestle

3E-COE president Peter Buckland responds to a Nestle employee who has argued for bottled water in the campus paper.

To the editor:

Yesterday, Nestle employee Tom Uhl argued that “bottled water is actually a better environmental choice than other packaged beverages.” Newsflash: water is better for you than soda full of chemical additives and high fructose corn syrup. Uhl’s argument is a distraction.

From beginning to end, the more than 50 billion bottles of water sold in the United States wreak environmental, social, and economic havoc.

First, it takes 1.85 gallons of water to manufacture one bottle of water – more than 14 times the amount of water finally delivered in a 16 oz. bottle itself. Why waste so much water?

Second, bottled water is fossil fuel intensive through its production, transport, cooling, and its disposal. Why waste so much oil to move water around?

Third, with a national plastic recycling rate of between 17% and 20%, I hardly think that we can call this a good environmental choice. Why waste so much plastic?

Finally, bottled water commodifies a biological need. It puts water into a “beverage” (it is still water isn’t it?) for “on-the-go” people (what are we hamsters in wheels?) at a price 700 to 10,000 times that of municipal water. Who profits? Not local communities and economies and the bioregions in which they live. It lines the pockets of already excessively rich people who have no right to that water. Why waste the money?

So do your part – grab a reusable bottle or cup and drink essentially free water from our Spring Creek Watershed.

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