The Real Story of Bottled Water

Earlier this year, Annie Leonard’s short film “The Story of Bottled Water” blasted the bottled water industry for its deceptive marketing tactics.  She ruffled some feathers along the way, naturally, after suggesting that drinking bottled water is “about as cool as smoking while pregnant.”

Now, the International Bottled Water Association wants you to hear their side of the story. Not to be outdone by Leonard’s quirky little stick figures, “The Real Story of Bottled Water” uses a claymation water bottle to tell the real story of bottled water:

“The Real Story of Bottled Water” is actually correct in saying that the “demand for bottled water is consumer-driven, like any free market economy.” The video goes on to say that bottled water companies do very little advertising, and when they do advertise, they tout the health benefits of bottled water when compared with sodas. This is somewhat ironic, considering the film is an advertisement, and that bottled water offers no more health benefits than tap water.

The film’s high-pitched, clay narrator says that many people don’t like the smell of chlorine in tap water. But it refuses to mention that the taste and odor of chlorine can be removed easily with inexpensive fridge filters, pitcher filters or faucet filters.

The narrator goes on to say that bottled water is closely watched by the FDA, just like any food. The EPA ensures tap water is safe, but the film fails to mention that.

The bottled water industry is consumer-driven, so instead of criticizing bottled water manufacturers, we should be criticizing ourselves for drinking bottled water. After all, they’re not going to take money out of their pockets to tell us why bottled water is bad for the environment.

In closing, the narrator says that water bottles need to be recycled and do not belong in a landfill. It’s hard to deny that. But why not carry a reusable water bottle so that  new water bottles don’t have to be created in the first place? A lot of oil (and ironically, water) goes into manufacturing bottled water and shipping it all across the country.

Most of the film’s points can be easily refuted, but the little clay water bottle saves his best for last: “It’s a no-brainer: bottled water is among the most environmentally-friendly consumer products we have today.”

Mirriam-Webster defines “no-brainer” as “something that requires a minimum of thought.” I’d say “The Real Story of Bottled Water,” which greatly lacks the insight of Annie Leonard’s film, is just that.

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