PepsiCo and Evian “Go Green”

Pepsi's first 100 percent plant-based PET bottleYou may recall a series we did last year on “eco-friendly” bottled water. It appears that PepsiCo and Evian have both jumped on that bandwagon. Evian has introduced a lighter-weight bottle, made with 50 percent recycled PET, and containing 11 percent plastic, that is still 100 percent recyclable. We know that’s a lot of percentages, so let us break it down for you this way: Evian is trying to be more evnironmentally sustainable with their bottled water packaging. The bottle is even easier to crush, as demonstrated by their TV commercial, which means it takes up less space in your recycle bin or trash can  (leaving room for more bottles – amounting to just as much plastic as you’d get with their former bottle design.)

Evian’s bottle came out a week after PepsiCo announced plans to release the first-ever PET bottle made from 100 percent plant materials, including switch grass, pine bark and corn husks. The bottle is also fully recyclable.

While we commend the bottled water industry for their efforts to appeal to a broader audience of people, we stand by our original claim, which is also the claim of most environmentalists who just aren’t “buying it” (pun intended.) Whether the bottle is recyclable or not, the fact remains that most bottles are not actually recycled. And whether it’s packaged in plastic or corn husks, many bottled waters are nothing more than filtered tap water, which you can get at home for a fraction of the price. Pepsi has even admitted that their Aquafina water is municipally sourced. In short, as a recent guest star in our youtube film, “Bottled Water Dummy,” demonstrates, bottled water is a waste of money.  We all know what EVIAN spells backwards…

We suggest you invest in water filters, which are a much more sustainable and cost-effective solution.

Bottled Rainwater: A Green Alternative?

Tasmanian Rain Bottled RainwaterBottled rainwater is a growing trend among avid premium bottled water consumers. On Saturday, February 26, six bottled rainwaters will compete in the award-winning Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting competition: Richard’s Rainwater, Oregon Rain, Texas Rain, Tasmanian Rain, SparkleTap and Rainwater Management Solutions. These six will be among over 100 bottled waters from around the globe. Since it is a bottled water “tasting” competition, I can’t predict who the winner will be because I don’t drink bottled water, but if the contest also took into account the sustainability of the process by which these waters are bottled, supposedly these six would be at the top.

That’s because bottled rainwater is supposed to be a “greener” alternative to other bottled waters. Rainwater harvesting is highly eco-friendly and has a lower carbon footprint than the processes used by conventional water bottlers. Rainwater catchments involve minimal processing. Rainwater is already pretty clean and does not require the complex filtration that chemically-treated water requires. Not to mention, many of these bottled rainwaters use eco-friendly packaging in the form of recyclable glass or biodegradable plastic. Tasmanian Rain even has an offsetting agreement with Elementree – an Australian company that plants trees based on the bottler’s water shipments and overall emissions.

But is bottled rainwater really greener? Even if it is greener, I don’t know that you could say it’s “green.” And I still think it’s got a long way to go to compete with filtered tap water. Putting something natural and eco-friendly inside of a plastic container (even if it is “biodegradable” plastic) just seems a little… ironic. Plus, not everyone can afford to purchase this water. It is, after all, more expensive than your average Deer Park.

What do you guys think?

Coconut Water: The New Celebrity Craze

No need to visit the tropics to indulge your craving for coconuts – this fruit is now a part of the multi-billion dollar bottled water industry. And, like many other brands of bottled water, it even has quite a few celebrity endorsements. Touted as the natural alternative to sports drinks like Gatorade, coconut water comes from the center of young, green coconuts, and is said to be healthy, fat-free and hydrating after a long work out. At least, that’s what the bottling manufacturers would have you believe…

Before you pay $2-3 for 11 ounces of this “miracle” drink, you may want to investigate its worth. Coconut water’s biggest claim is that it’s high in potassium and low in sodium, a combination, which nutritionists say are not ideal after a strenuous workout. ZICO, one brand of coconut water, advertises  with pictures of runners, hikers and mountain bikers on its website. However, as we’ve seen in the past, bottled water manufacturers are very clever when it comes to advertising. Pictures like this, along with multiple  celebrity endorsements, appeal to the majority of people in America. Some brands have even “gone green” by packaging the water in the supposedly “eco-friendly” Tetrapak bottles. Smart move, seeing as how environmentalism is a hot topic these days. But is this just more greenwash? Is coconut water really better than your average sports drink in terms of health? Better yet, is it a good substitute for pure, filtered water?

Coconut water is very popular in foreign countries like Brazil. If this drink really is as good as they say it is, then we’re supporting, yet again, the bottled water industry’s scheme to take good water from people who really need it, waste massive amounts of energy to bottle it up and ship it to the U.S. so that those of us who already have access to clean water can drink it instead. Does that sound like a good idea to you?